Eastern New Mexico next month. I need to spend some time on the llano estacado, for the novel I'm writing. Need to get a sense of the air, the ground, the light. The novel is set mostly in Weimar-era Germany, where and when my father, HHB, grew up. He was an Anglo-Irish guy transplanted (deported, actually) to Frankfurt in 1919, age 9, who came of age in that complicated crazy period of German history 1919-33, and taught himself the language of Goethe by reading and re-reading Karl May's Winnetou novels, which are set on the llano estacado. Hence HHB's lifelong fascination with the Wild West, passed on to me. Sounds like a novel, right? So any insider information on the that huge, dry country much appreciated. Right now I'm reading Pekka Hamalainen's wonderful Comanche Empire and learning how the llano estaduco--and 1000's of sq. miles of shortgrass plains east of the Rio Grande Valley and Spanish New Mexico--was dominated from the mid-18th to mid-19th century by the Comanche, a powerful empire of their own once they got horses and iron and good guns.
One of best books about that part of the West (after the mid-19th) is Hampton Sides' Blood & Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson.
- Brooklin, Maine, United States
- We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and an '86 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of '97 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 25 years--we're recyclers. I've published 2 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), and THE O'BRIENS (2012), and 2 collections of stories NIGHT DRIVING (1987), and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). Novel # 3, KARIN, will be out from Pantheon (US) and House of Anansi (Canada) in March 2016. More of my book stuff at www.peterbehrens.org I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I've been teaching at Colorado College, Wichita State, and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte.