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Winner of the 1973 Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Novel of 1973 from the Texas Institute of Letters

Award from the Southwestern Library Association for the novel of 1973 that "made the most significant and enjoyable contribution to an understanding of the Southwest."


  • "Perhaps the most auspicious debut for a Southwest writer since Larry McMurtry's Horseman, Pass By." ~

    -Fort Worth Star-Telegram (read full review)

  • "....a sympathetic and fairly subtle study of the intellectual who straddles the line between revolution and co-option (by virtue of his cleverness) into the ruling class." ~

    -Kirkus Reviews

  • "Throughout the story, Smith beautifully evokes the Southwest. In rich flashbacks and interior monologues, he somehow makes this bleak landscape into a convincing correlative for his characters' gnawing despair." ~

    -Publishers Weekly (read full review)

  • "A serious, successful novel, rich in regional detail, with a carefully developed story line and believable characters." ~

    -Library Journal (read full review)

  • "This introspective Western orchestrates a variety of conflicts into a composition with a distinctively original texture....C.W. Smith's technique has the impact of Claude Simon...who creates arresting amalgams of past, present, reverie, and locale. Can't do much better than that." ~

    -New York Times (read full review)

  • "Surely one of the most gratifying experiences of good reading is its ability to bring us into contact with cultures not our immediate own. C.W. Smith, in this splendid first novel, offers us this kind of reward....Recommended." ~

    -Best Sellers (read full review)

  • "Thin Men of Haddam is remarkable in its sure hand in plotting, its management of diverse moods and character, its succinct, quotable lines of wisdom...its story-telling drive, its suspense...deserves to be widely read because of its sure touch and its relevancy..." ~

    -Western American Literature



Thin Men of Haddam


Orphaned as a child and reared by an Anglo family, Raphael Mendez lives in a nether world, neither de la raza nor Anglo. Having dropped out of graduate school after a squabble with his fellowship sponsors, he is foreman of the ranch of his childhood. Paired against Mendez in this striking first novel is his cousin, Manuelo - practically illiterate, broke, the father of six starving children, and unable to find work. When Manuelo's desperation pushes him to the other side of the law, Mendez must choose sides.


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