The Time It Never Rained
The Time It Never Rained, by Elmer Kelton; Afterword by Tom Pilkington, paperback.
“ . . . one of the dozen or so best novels written by an American in [the twentieth] century.” --Jon Tuska.
In the 1950s, West Texas suffered the longest drought in the memory of most men then living. By that time, Charlie Flagg, the central character of this novel, was one of a dying breed of men who wrested their living from the harsh land of West Texas. The struggle made them fiercely independent, a trait personified in Charlie’s persistence throughout the seven dry years, his refusal to accept defeat, his opposition to federal aid programs and their inevitable bureaucratic regulations, his determination to stay on the land he loves and respects even as he suffers with that land.
There is no surprise ending to this story, no magical solution to the harsh realities of life in West Texas. The reading of this novel lies not in what happens next but in the unfolding depth of a strong character and the clear picture of a time and a place.