This article and the news report of Robert Laxalt’s death that follows, has been included into the Etxeto Genealogy pages because the Etxeto family has many stories about immigrating from the Old World into unknown lands. Reading “Sweet Promised Land” and other books will give the reader an idea of the hardships that these early pioneers faced, and how it has changed them compared to those who live in France and Spain.
“… they had forsaken home and family, and gone into the unknown of a new land with only courage and the hands that God gave them, and had given us in our turn the right to be born American.” — Sweet Promised Land
“The truth is that the story works as a classic tale of immigration, where the immigrant’s experience is portrayed by Laxalt as a process divided into three basic stages: the immigrant’s decision to abandon his homeland, his fight for acceptance in the new country and his impossible return to his native land once the assimilation process is over. Throughout these different stages Laxalt shows his deeply felt concern with the modern individual’s need for meaning, for a sense of place and identity.”
“Although Sweet Promised Land emphasizes primarily the challenges that immigrants must face in America and their often fruitless attempts to recapture the past, it also explores the main reasons that lie behind their decision to seek their future in America. Thus, immigration is presented as the only way to escape from poverty for many European youths, symbolized by Dominique. He, as most immigrants, regretted leaving his native land, but he was well aware that he had to find an opportunity in life somewhere else.”
by David Río Raigadas Universidad del País Vasco
David Río Raigadas, Universidad del País Vasco
This article was originally presented by the author as a paper at the II International Conference on Regional Literatures (Space and Place: The Geographies of Literature), Liverpool John Moores University, April 11-13, 1996.
Sweet Promised Land (1957)(1), the first and possibly best-known of Robert Laxalt’s books, appears to be a personal and rather simple story about the journey of the author’s father, Dominique, to his Basque homeland after forty-seven years as an immigrant sheepherder in the American West. In fact, the book has been often described as an intimate biography or as an affectionate memoir of a son to his father. Even Laxalt himself has emphasized to me the personal quality of this story:
“I couldn’t write it as a novel because something was missing. I thought that the poignancy of this trip moved me very much. It was a story of discovery for me, too. [..] It was a book written from the heart.”(2)
The intimate approach taken by Laxalt to portray his father’s life pervades the whole book and contributes to its success. Readers feel attracted by Laxalt’s personal and direct statements on his father and the fact that it is the true story of a man viewed through the eyes of his son, though some incidents in the book may have been a little fictionalized. Laxalt himself felt that the work meant an invasion of his family’s privacy and was particularly apprehensive of his father’s reaction toward it:
“When I told him about it, I thought I was running a risk of getting shot, but he accepted it well and even a little detachedly.”(3)
However, Sweet Promised Land must be read as the story not only of Dominique Laxalt, but of many Basque immigrants in the American West. The book goes beyond its personal level to embody the experience of Basque immigrants in the United States and even becomes a metaphor for American immigration in general.
Laxalt wrote this story about his Basque father at a time in which Basques were neither well-known nor popular in America. As William A. Douglass has pointed out,
“…the Basque-Americans were few in number, scattered lightly over the vastness of the American West and […] their ethnic success as sheepherders par excellence identified them closely with the region’s most denigrated occupation.” (1986:xiii)
Set against this particular background, Sweet Promised Land constituted a vindication of the role of the immigrant Basque sheepherder in America, represented by the figure of Dominique Laxalt and his capacity to endure hardship in the New World. Basques in America identified themselves with Dominique’s story and felt encouraged to show their ethnic pride. At the same time, the wider public in the United States discovered Basques, “they discovered this romantic sheepherder thing,” in Douglass’ words.(4)
Although the book deals mainly with the way of life of Basque sheepmen in the American West, their experiences can be regarded as a symbol of the struggle of American immigrants in general. In fact, Laxalt himself agrees with this point and he even, in all modesty, refers to his lack of a deep knowledge about the Basques to support this idea:
“Sweet Promised Land became an immigrant book, not particularly a Basque book, because I didn’t know so much about the Basques.”(5)
The truth is that the story works as a classic tale of immigration, where the immigrant’s experience is portrayed by Laxalt as a process divided into three basic stages: the immigrant’s decision to abandon his homeland, his fight for acceptance in the new country and his impossible return to his native land once the assimilation process is over. Throughout these different stages Laxalt shows his deeply felt concern with the modern individual’s need for meaning, for a sense of place and identity.
Although Sweet Promised Land emphasizes primarily the challenges that immigrants must face in America and their often fruitless attempts to recapture the past, it also explores the main reasons that lie behind their decision to seek their future in America. Thus, immigration is presented as the only way to escape from poverty for many European youths, symbolized by Dominique. He, as most immigrants, regretted leaving his native land, but he was well aware that he had to find an opportunity in life somewhere else:
“What chance was there if I stayed? There was no money for anything. I wanted stock and the land to move in, […] and we didn’t even own the property where we lived.” (1986: 35)
At first, the journey to America was viewed by people like Dominique just as a temporary experience, as a way to earn enough money to return home. However, most of these immigrants soon realized that their way to success was in America, a raw new land that could provide them with a chance in life if they were ready to suffer and work hard. Thus, America represents for Dominique and many other immigrants the land of opportunity, the place to make their fortune. Nevertheless, Sweet Promised Land also describes the decline of America as a land of opportunity since the mid-century, particularly for new groups of immigrants like the Puerto Ricans, who are shown leaving for Brazil in search of another America.
Although Laxalt stresses the importance of the economic reasons in the immigrant’s decision to abandon his native land, he also refers in the book to the lack of freedom of these people in the Old World. Thus, for instance, one of the characters in Sweet Promised Land, Michel, escapes from France in order not to be imprisoned after running away from the seminary where he was to be ordained. Besides, there are other references to the restrictions imposed by the French authorities on one of the main symbols of the Basque culture: the Basque language. This meant, as Dominique says, “to be made to feel that it was a crime to be born a Basque.” (1986:76). Being unable to display their ethnic identity in their own land, these people feel constricted in the Old World and they set their heart on America, which symbolizes for them not only the land of opportunity, but also of freedom.
The integration experience of the immigrant in American society is described by Laxalt as a gradual process in which the immigrant’s desire for acceptance and his reluctance to lose his ethnic identity often act as opposing forces. He particularly focuses his attention on the challenges that the newcomer must face during his first years in America. Thus, he gives in his book a detailed description of the hardships endured by his father when he first arrived in Nevada. Although Dominique’s struggle for integration presents some specific characteristics related to his condition of Basque sheepherder, the tests he must undergo during this process illustrate the hard lessons the ordinary immigrant usually has to learn in the new land. One of the first challenges that the immigrant must face in America is the adaptation to a new setting, often completely different from that of the Old World. Laxalt particularly emphasizes the deep impact that the Nevada desert produces on Basque sheepherders like Dominique, who longs for his green land:
“You would have to see the beauty of the Basque country before you knew what I meant, but I remember going out into that cruel desert when I first came, and nights when I cried to sleep in my tent.” (1986: 50)
Thus, on their way to integration, these immigrants will inevitably have to adjust themselves to a harsh landscape, with a devastating climate, and gradually they will have to overcome their nostalgia for the old country, too.
Laxalt also portrays isolation and loneliness as common trials for the immigrant. Besides, in the case of the Basque sheepherders the challenge becomes especially arduous. Their loneliness is not simply the result of their condition of newcomers, their ignorance of the language or the bad reputation of their job, as was often the case with other immigrants. The loneliness of the Basques is also produced by the utter solitude in which they find themselves as sheepherders on the open range. In the most desolate corners of the American West they long for human company, for the sound of a human voice, and the monotony of their lonely life exposes them to potentially severe mental strain. Related to this, it is worth mentioning that, even though the Basques had a special reputation among all nationalities in America for their capacity to endure solitude,(6) Laxalt includes in Sweet Promised Land a Basque sheepherder, Joanes Ergela (or Crazy John), who loses his mind from loneliness in the mountains. This example works as a symbol of the serious nature of the ordeals that the immigrants must undergo in their new country.
Another major challenge that immigrants must face is economic survival, a subject that plays an important role in Sweet Promised Land. Laxalt shows that immigrants, apart from suffering hard working conditions, as in the case of the Basques mentioned above, usually have a difficult start making their living in the New World. America may be the land of opportunity, but working hard is not enough there. The newcomer must be ready to fight competitors, even resorting to violent means. In addition, he must resist the temptation of wasting his money, even if that means staying away from town for a long period. Last but not least, his economic success often depends on a volatile market. All these features are perfectly represented in Sweet Promised Land by the struggle experienced by Dominique and Basque-American sheepherders in general. Thus, these immigrants are shown in open conflict with the cattle ranchers for the feed and the water. Besides, the book describes their obsession with saving and their difficulties in resisiting the temptation of wasting their money in town. Finally, Laxalt also introduces the livestock crisis of the 1920s as an example of the uncertain economic conditions: the sheep market began to go and immediately most of the Basques lost everything for which they had worked so hard.
Apart from the different challenges mentioned throughout this paper, immigrants must sometimes confront hostility, fun-making or contempt from the host community. In some cases this hostile atmosphere is closely related to economic reasons, as we saw in the conflict with the cattlemen described above. However, in many cases this situation is simply due to the cultural and ethnic distinctiveness of the newcomers. They do not fit into the standard patterns of the American society because they are outsiders, who speak a different language and have a different culture. And at that time in America, as Robert Laxalt remembers, “it wasn’t fashionable to be ethnic.“(7)
As a result, the Basques, as other groups of immigrants with special ethnic features, will experience some bullying, fun-making, and rejection. Laxalt does not wish to exaggerate the importance of these incidents and consequently he does not include any episodes of violent discrimination against the Basques in Sweet Promised Land. However, he shows how two young Basques are made fun of just because of their speech and clothes and he also refers to the shame suffered by Basque-American children when they speak Basque in public. These examples illustrate the intolerance of the American society in the first half of the twentieth century toward expressions of cultural or ethnic diversity. As William Douglass has pointed out, “persons who clung to their native language and who continued to manifest Old World lifeways were suspect.” (1986:x)
So, these immigrants, in spite of their reluctance to lose their original identity, will often have to hide their ethnic heritage or to renounce it in order to become Americans.
All these hardships that immigrants must endure to achieve their integration in American society are symbolized in Sweet Promised Land by boxing, a sport whose rules Dominique and other immigrants understand perfectly well. The comparison between boxing and the immigrant experience enables Laxalt to enhance the sacrifice of these newcomers in America:
”Like the men in the ring, they too had stood alone and fought alone, with their only weapons the hands that God gave them, and the fight was everything they had ever done and seen and felt.” (1986:65)
The struggle for acceptance of the immigrants also extends to their descendants, for whom boxing works as a useful model, too. As Laxalt knows from his own experience, second- generation Americans often must fight harder than the rest, just because they “were born of old- country people in a new land.” (1986:66)
Although Laxalt’s interest is mainly focused on the obstacles that the immigrant finds on his way to integration, he also shows how the newcomer gradually becomes familiar with the host country and its people and even identifies himself with them. This process has its origin in the immigrant’s capacity to adapt himself to the new environment without questioning it:
”…afterward it wasn’t suffering, because it was the way things was, and a man couldn’t do anything about it, and maybe that’s why he didn’t spend the time thinking about it, either.” (1986:50)
However, the self-identification of the newcomer with American society is accelerated by a series of elements that represent the progressive acceptance of the immigrant by the host community. As an example of this, Laxalt describes the first time that his father did not feel like a stranger in America. It was an encounter with a group of bandits, where he discovered that even the cruel people who inhabited the harsh land were capable of kindness toward a foreigner like him. This incident shows him that the new country is not only a place of disillusionment and brutality, but also of generosity and love.
In Sweet Promised Land, Laxalt also pays close attention to the last stage of the immigrant experience: the impossible return of the native. The book shows the return to the homeland as an unrealistic idea for most immigrants. Certainly, Laxalt provides the reader with the examples of two Basques (Nazario and the innkeeper) who come back to their native land after a few years in America and decide to remain in their country of birth. However, these two cases can be regarded as exceptions because most of the Basque immigrants in the story fail to return to their homeland. In addition to this, the main character, Dominique, who manages to see the Basque Country again, prefers in the end to go back to America.
Although a lot of immigrants in Sweet Promised Land talk about going home, their return is nearly always postponed and in most cases it never takes place. Two opposite reasons may be argued to account for this situation: the failure of the integration process, and its overwhelming success. Actually, the book describes a group of Basque immigrants who are unable to overcome the challenges of the new land, but have to remain in America because their return has become physically impossible. They have failed to save money or they have been defeated by adversity, age, or loneliness. As one of the characters in the story says,
”…they were lost souls, and they did not even have the good fortune to be lost in their own hell. They were foreigners when they came and they will always be foreigners.” (1986:107)
As a contrast to these immigrants, Laxalt focuses his attention on the figure of his father, who symbolizes the success of the assimilation process. After forty-seven years in the New World, Dominique is so integrated in the American society that his early wishes to return to the Basque Country and settle there have vanished. We can even see how he hesitates when his family encourages him to go back to the old country for a short visit to his sisters. His nostalgic trip to the Basque Country is portrayed by his son, who accompanies him, as a shocking and ambiguous experience. In particular, Robert Laxalt emphasizes the deep impact produced on his father by his sudden return to the old country after forty-seven years of absence. Besides, the return becomes a catalyst for very opposite feelings. On the one hand, it is a moment for joy, reward and fulfillment. Dominique has the opportunity to meet his relatives again and these welcome him as a hero, as “the youth who had gone out into the world in beggar’s garb and come back in shining armor.” (1986:122) On the other hand, the return makes Dominique feel sad and old because he realizes that too much time has gone on and nothing can be the same again. His parents and some of his old friends are dead and, in spite of the joyous reunion with his relatives and the recall of youthful memories, he cannot avoid feeling like a stranger in his own land.
Robert Laxalt ends his tale of immigration by stressing the impossibility of returning to the past. To illustrate this point, he uses the example of his father’s nostalgic trip to the Basque Country. Actually, Dominique’s final decision to leave again for the United States shows that once the assimilation process is over and the old land has become only a dimming memory, the return of the native is nearly always a chimerical idea. As Dominique says at the end of Sweet Promised Land,
“I cannot go back. It ain’t my country anymore. I’ve lived too much in America ever to go back.” (1986:176)
Nevada author Robert Laxalt dead at 77
By Gaye Delaplane
Saturday March 24th, 2001
Robert Laxalt, one of Nevada’s most renowned authors, died Friday in Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno at age 77.
Laxalt’s books, notable for their simple, yet elegant style, won him international acclaim. Many of his writings were rich in Basque culture and sprang from his own family experiences. His writings have been read and translated in the United Kingdom, Europe and South America.
“He had a wonderful life and a peaceful end,” Laxalt’s son, Reno lawyer Bruce Laxalt, said. “It was a sudden death and a painless one.”
Robert Laxalt headed the University of Nevada Press since its beginning in 1961 and was instrumental in starting UNR’s Basque Studies Program in 1966.
He was a best-selling author for University Press for years, said Sandy Crooms, marketing director for the University Press.
“He was an outstanding writer,” she said. “Anybody can pick up and read his work and be instantly drawn in.”
News of Laxalt’s death spread quickly.
“It’s incredible,” Crooms said. “I’m just amazed at how quickly word has gotten around, but he was a very well-respected man. Everybody thought the world of him and we’re all saddened by the news.”
Former UNR President Joe Crowley said Laxalt is commonly regarded as one of greatest literary figures in this state’s history.
“Along with Walter Van Tilburg Clark, he’s one of Nevada’s greatest authors,” he said.
Crowley lauded Laxalt’s teaching skills and his generosity with students. “I hear from his students all the time,” he said. “He made an indelible mark on them. Through them, he has influenced the literature of the future.”
Laxalt had a wonderful way of drawing out the best in his students, said Verita Black Prothro, who took one of the writing classes he taught at UNR.
“He didn’t drag it out of you, he would gently coax it,” said Prothro, northern Nevada director for U.S. Sen. John Ensign.
“We had to do a writing assignment and he kept telling me, ‘Verita, this isn’t your voice.’ He said, ‘You should write from the heart. You’re writing from your head.’ He told me to try writing at different times of the day. He told me to write in the middle of the night or early in the morning. He told me to write while I was sipping tea or when I was having a glass of wine.”
Prothro said she finally wrote a short story Laxalt loved. It is one of the stories included in “The River Underground,” an anthology of Nevada fiction that will in bookstores next month.
“I can’t tell you what a confidence builder it is when somebody like Bob Laxalt tells you you’ve written something good,” Prothro said. “I always felt like I could fly after I had a conversation with him. I was hoping he would sign my book, but he signed my heart instead.”
Alan Abner, a former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, worked closely with both Robert and Paul Laxalt on three of Paul’s political campaigns and remained a close friend of the Laxalt family.
“He was this strange combination, part rugged Westerner and yet sensitive and introspective,” Abner said. “Robert was very ill with rheumatic fever as a child and barely survived. He spent months in bed.”
His love of reading began while he was ill. After his recovery, he became very competitive.
“He admired his brothers’ athletic abilities and worked hard to become an excellent boxer and a tough combatant,” Abner said. “And, in contrast, he could write this wonderful poetic prose.”
“Along the length of Main Street, the business people of Carson City had come out to sweep the sidewalks in front of their shops and stores and little hotels. They did this when the sun had barely cleared the desert mountains to the east with a blinding burst of light, and before it had time to bake the sidewalks to a furnace heat.” — The Basque Hotel
Although Laxalt grew up in Carson, his ties to the Basque country in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain were deep-rooted. His interest and experiences there are reflected in most of his work.
His father, Dominique Laxalt, a Basque sheepherder from Soule, France, came to Nevada in 1906. He had little education and didn’t speak English. Yet of his six children, three became attorneys, one a nun, one a teacher and Robert became a world-famous author. Eldest son Paul served as Nevada’s governor, later became a U.S. Senator and, as a close friend and confidante of President Ronald Reagan, one of the most influential men in the country.
“What children we were. Because we had grown up knowing politicians, we thought we knew politics. But all we had really known was the outward face of politics. We had seen the affable smile and felt the firm handclasps, but we had never seen the unguarded moment when the smile was gone and the bruising showed through, and we had not even wondered why these men grew old before their time.” — The Governor’s Mansion
Laxalt’s mother, Therese Alpetche was born in the Basque province, Basse Navarre, and later lived in Bordeaux, France, where her family operated the Hotel Amerika. She graduated from the renowned Cordon Bleu cooking school. After her marriage, she cooked for 30 men in the sheep camps.
Later, when the family moved to Carson City in 1926, Therese Laxalt operated the French Hotel. She later purchased the old Ormsby House, demolished it and developed the property. Dominique Laxalt died in 1971, age 84; Therese Laxalt died in 1978, age 87.
“… they had forsaken home and family, and gone into the unknown of a new land with only courage and the hands that God gave them, and had given us in our turn the right to be born American.”
— Sweet Promised Land
Educated at the University of Santa Clara in California and the University of Nevada, Reno, Laxalt spent a year as a Fulbright scholar studying the Basque culture in France and Spain.
During World War II, he spent two years in what was then called the Belgian Congo with the U.S. Consular Service. “A Private War” is based on his experiences there.
Laxalt began his writing career as a journalist, starting a news bureau in Carson City, and working for the Nevada State Journal. He was a correspondent for United Press International for five years, covering “gamblers, hoods and contract killers.”
Laxalt left UPI in 1954 to become director of publications and news for the University of Nevada.
In 1957, he published his first book, “Sweet Promised Land,” the story of his father’s return to his native land after 50 years in America. With “Sweet Promised Land” and “A Man in the Wheatfield,” Laxalt gained an international reputation. He also established himself as an expert on the Basque culture.
In 1961, Laxalt became director of the University of Nevada Press, which he helped found.
In August, 1966, Laxalt and his family returned from a year in the Basque country. They lived in a small village and the children attended Basque schools. Their trip, he said at the time, had two purposes: “First, my own writing, and second, to lay groundwork for a proposed Basque studies program at the University of Nevada.”
He returned with material for future books; his children returned with new friends and an understanding of the Basque culture. He made arrangements for the exchange of Basque scholars and helped lay the foundation for UNR’s Basque program.
In 1986, he was given the Tambor de Oro (golden drum) from the City of San Sebastian for his contributions to the Basque people and their country.
Laxalt also served as consultant in Basque culture to the Library of Congress. He was honorary consul to Nevada for the government of France. During his career, he wrote more than 20 articles for the National Geographic.
Mike O’Callaghan, executive editor of the Las Vegas Sun and a former Nevada governor, knew Laxalt for 40 years.
“I’d take my dog running in the hills outside Carson City,” O’Callaghan said, “and I’d run into ‘Frenchy’,” a nickname even Robert’s brother Paul used. “I knew his parents, and Frenchy was a lot like his mother. He had the same compassion and feeling. He never let politics get in the way of friendships.”
O’Callaghan read all Laxalt’s books and found them engrossing. “He had a real love for the state and he could put that into words.”
When Laxalt retired from the University Press in 1983, he was designated its director emeritus. In 1988, he was named the first occupant of the Distinguished Nevada Author Chair at UNR.
After retirement, Laxalt also continued to teach UNR classes and conduct tutorials.
Fellow teachers describe Laxalt as extraordinarily good with students and always prepared for his classes. Laxalt’s tutorial classes were extremely beneficial to students because they were limited in size, allowing him to spend much individual time with each student.
A member of the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, Laxalt was a frequent contributor to the National Geographic, The Atlantic and Saturday Evening Post. He was a member of the Authors Guild of America, the Western History Association and Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalism.
In 1978, Laxalt was named a recipient of a Decade Award by the Nevada State Council on the Arts. In the same year, then-Gov. O’Callaghan cited him for exemplary service to the satate. In 1982, the Friends of the University of Nevada, Reno library, named him Distinguished Nevada Author. The Board of Regents named Laxalt a Distinguished Nevadan in 1984. In 1998, he received the University of Nevada, Reno Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year award.
Warren Lerude, professor at the Reynolds School of Journalism and former editor and publisher of the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal, had nominated Laxalt for a Pulitzer prize in fiction for “A Cup of Tea in Pamplona” in 1985 and for the “Basque Hotel” in 1989.
“Writers, journalists and — more important — readers have lost a great friend in the death of Bob Laxalt,. He nurtured many young writers as well as senior writers who turned to him for his kindness and expertise. His greatest legacy will be his own books his family and the University of Nevada Press, which he founded.”
“… the unknown cowboy carried a short rawhide whip attached to his left wrist by a leather thong, ostensibly to train horses but, as occasion had proven, handy to blind an adversary with a backhand flip of his wrist for those few seconds necessary to draw his pistol first.
“John D. Hamilton spit contemptuously into the dirt street. ‘Anyone who goes to all that trouble to look dangerous don’t scare me one bit. Now, if he was a decent-dressed man doing his damnedest not to look mean, but with that look in his eyes, I would watch out for him. This man is a sidewinder, the kind of rattler you can’t tell what direction he will come at you’.” — Dust Devils
In 1949, Laxalt married Joyce Nielsen, now a retired French teacher. He told one reporter when he met her, “It was love at first sight.” Their home is in Washoe Valley.
He is survived by his wife and their three children: Bruce, a Reno attorney; Kristin Laxalt, a Reno physician who is married to attorney Don Nomura; and Monique Laxalt, an attorney and writer. Laxalt drew from her family experiences in her book, “The Deep Blue Memory,” a work of fiction published in 1993.
“Robert was a marvelous father,” Abner said. “He was extremely close to his children, and he and Joyce were very close and loyal to each other.”
He also is survived by three brothers, Paul Laxalt, former governor and senator; John Laxalt, a lawyer; and Peter, a lawyer; and two sisters, Suzanne Laxalt, a retired nun; and Marie Bini, a retired teacher.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nightingale Hall. The service is open to the public. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Robert Laxalt’s name to the Distinguished Writer’s Chair, Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada, Reno.
Books by Robert Laxalt
“The Violent Land: Tales the Old Timers Tell,” 1950
“Sweet Promised Land” 1957
“A Man in the Wheatfield” 1964. Selected by the American Library Association as one of the six notable works of American fiction that year.
“In a Hundred Graves: A Basque Portrait,” 1972
“Nevada: A Bicentennial History,” 1977
“A Cup of Tea in Pamplona,” 1985. Nominated for a 1985 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.
“A Basque Hotel” 1989. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
“A Time We Knew: Images of Yesterday in the Basque Homeland,” 1990
“The Child of the Holy Ghost” 1992
“A Lean Year and Other Stories” (16 short stories), 1994
“The Governor’s Mansion” 1994
“Dust Devils” 1997
“A Private War: An American Code Officer in the Belgian Congo,” 1998
“The Land of My Fathers: A Son’s Return to the Basque Country,” 1999
“Time of the Rabies,” 2000
“Travels With My Royal: A Memoir of the Writing Life,” available May 2001
Mike Henderson contributed to this story