Sunday, March 30, 2008

Book Review: Charles Williams, Big City Girl (1951)

Big City Girl is not a particularly accurate title for this book, and the cover illustration and tag ("Joy didn't belong in the hill country . . . but there she was") are rather misleading, too. Yes, Joy used to live in Houston and now she lives in the Texas sticks, but she does not spend the novel sexually tormenting the yokels, as the book's cover would have you believe. No doubt all of this was an effort to capitalize on the million-selling success of Charles Williams' debut novel, Hill Girl. In any case, Big City Girl, his second novel, is a clear step forward artistically from its predecessor. Though both novels mine the literary landscape of Erskine Caldwell, Hill Girl is concerned primarily with Caldwellian sexual titillation while Big City Girl moves closer to the world of criminal noir. Well executed and well worth seeking out. Grade: B

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