The Smiling Country

Narrated by: George Guidall
Series: Hewey Calloway, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (161 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Elmer Kelton, author of over a dozen popular westerns, was named the Greatest Western Writer of All Time by the Western Writers of America. He has won multiple Golden Spur Awards.

The Smiling Country, filled with pathos and humor, is set in the last days of the Old West. Hewey Calloway may be pushing 45, but he can still rope and outride most things on four legs. Refusing promotions, he prefers to remain a simple ranch hand. But as he rides the West Texas plains, automobiles are beginning to dot the landscape. When Hewey is critically injured by a wild horse, he must admit that his world - and an age - are passing away.

©1998 Elmer Kelton (P)2001 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Smiling Country

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great snapshot of the classic western personality

Which shines through almost most every character.
Those few exceptions belong back East, then and now.
Great book. excellent narration

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Why have I never heard of Elmer Kelton?

This is a joint review of “The Good Old Boys,” and “The Smiling Country,” both by Elmer Kelton. I’m reviewing them together because they are essentially one book, and despite what Audible says, “The Good Old Boys,” set in 1906, forms the first in the series to which “The Smiling Country,” set four years later, is the conclusion. Read them together and in order. To only read “The Good Old Boys,” as some reviewers apparently have, is to miss out on half the plot — and the more interesting half at that.

As I read these books I kept wondering how it happened that I had gone so long without ever hearing the name Elmer Kelton. What a fantastic storyteller he is! These are deeply compelling novels, filled with humor, drama, and richly developed and appealing characters. I suppose that the problem is that Kelton just got pegged as a writer of Westerns, a genre now largely obsolete. It’s true that these novels are set in west Texas and that they involve cowboys, but the time is the turn of the last century and what happens here is far removed from any of the standard tales of the Wild West. Absent from these pages are all the usual cliché’s about gunslingers, outlaws, Indians, and lawmen. Kelton’s cowboys are just hard working, free-roaming, independent men who happen to herd cattle for a living. Huey, the main character, does not even have a firearm because, as he says, “he figures that the best way not to need a gun is never to carry one.” The fact is, these stories are a lot closer to something by John Steinbeck than to any of the work of Louis L’Amour. If you want gunplay, go elsewhere. All you get here is a darn good yarn — realistic, warm, compelling — one that starts out gentle enough but then grabs hold and doesn’t let go. Give it a try. You won’t regret it.

1 person found this helpful

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Most Boring Book of All Time

I've read over 5000 books and this one takes the cake for most boring of all-time. Narrator is of course awesome. But even he cannot bring this book to be enjoyable.

0 action and endless verbosity about nothing worth paying attention to.

This author is horrible! He should find a job writing reports about reports for the government.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Hooked on Kelton

This is the 3rd Kelton I have listened to and I am hooked. I have never really read any Westerns in the past besides Larry McMurtry. I thought I’d try a Zane Gray but did not care for it.

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Perfect

perfect story perfect narrator perfect author so easy to listen to we're not author knows what he's talking about and so easy to listen to when the narrator reads it right.

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GREAT!

When I started this book, I thought I would not like it but I was wrong; it is hands down one of the best stories I have heard in a long time.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Little slow to start

It took a while to develop but, once drawn in it was pretty good. George Guidall as usual is great. GG is why I selected this book. Came in expecting something different, more action than story. Still overall very enjoyable.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Story

George Guidall will take you back into the past and sweep you up into the story so magnificently that you can see all of the people and places unfold right in front of you. Keep up the good work!!

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A great story.

This story ties up all of the loose ends for Huey and ends with a surprise.

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Enjoyed it a lot....

This author has, at some point, been exposed to the authentic cowboy culture. This story warmed my heart.....one of those that you just hate to see come to an end