Publisher: Borodino Books
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Binding: Kobo eBook
The charm of Elliot Paul’s storytelling is that nowhere does he allow relevancy to cloud the brilliance of his art. Mr. Paul seeks to pleasure you. Like a skilful skater on a frozen pond he cuts intricate figures on memory’s gleaming surface. If, here and there, the ice is thin he chances it rather than interrupt the onlooker’s delight. To Mr. Paul, the figure’s the thing.
So, in A Ghost Town on the Yellowstone, which was first published in 1948, Mr. Paul reaches back to the year 1907 and to his youthful adventures on a project of the United States Reclamation Service in Montana. With him you start on one of the oddest stagecoach rides in history—a ride in which no matter how the passengers change at various stops their number is always thirteen, a circumstance to make the driver consult his whisky jug more frequently than usual. The hapless coach—jinxed to the whiffletrees, overturns, dumps its passengers into the sagebrush and thus precipitates the founding of the town of Trembles. Thanks to Mr. Paul’s keen observation (vitamin enriched and thoroughly irradiated) you meet the first citizens of Trembles—a saloonkeeper, two Chinese, a scissorbill, and a woman somewhat less ancient than the profession she follows. Thenceforth you participate in some of the most astonishing, humorous and touching events ever to take place in that part of the Wild West. To tell you more would be to cheat you of your full quota of agreeable surprises.