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A Nye for a Nye

Hermes Nye
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From the nostalgia section comes this excerpt from and review of Hermes Nye's long-lost 1958 novel Fortune is a Woman, posted today to The Neglected Books Page. Nye's among those once-upon-a-time famous Dallas folks whose name has slipped into history's margins: The Chicago native spent most of his life in Dallas, where the lawyer accrued his fame as both writer and folkie -- releasing, as a matter of fact, five albums on the immortal Folkways label (with such titles as Ballads of the Civil War and Texas Folk Songs) while appearing on other compilations. A few words about his place in Dallas' folk-music past can be found in James Ward Lee's Adventures With a Texas Humanist.

Nye penned two books about Dallas: the novel Fortune is a Woman ("the explosive story of a struggling young lawyer and the girl who got in his way") and, in 1972, the autobiographical Sweet Beast, I Have Gone Prowling: A Novel of Dallas, which you'll still find on the Half-Price Books shelves on occasion. You'll find a little about the latter here (including Nye's feelings for his adopted home town: "I love it now as one loves a beautiful, dangerous and wayward woman, as much for her faults as for her virtues"). Though I'd love to find a copy of his 1965 book How to be a folksinger;: How to sing and present folksongs; or, The folksinger's guide; or, Eggs I have laid, which is among the best titles in the history of words. --Robert Wilonsky

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


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