Author John Graves, whose 1960 book "Goodbye to a River" and authentic depictions of rural Texas made him one of the state's most celebrated and beloved writers, has died. He was 92.
Graves died Wednesday at the home he called Hard
He was best known for "Goodbye to a River," a memoir of a canoe trip down the Brazos River that chronicled nature in masterful language and used history and philosophy to capture a sense of place. It has endured as one of the most acclaimed books about Texas and was nominated for a National Book Award.
Graves also wrote "Hard Scrabble" in 1974 and "From a Limestone Ledge" in 1980. The books became known as his "Brazos Trilogy." His fans included former first lady Laura Bush, who often listed "Goodbye to a River" as one of her favorites.
Admirers of Graves often called him the Henry David Thoreau of Texas.
"His prose seemed to reflect the state of Texas and its roots," Stratton said. "It was a marvelous prose style that no one else could match."
Larry McMurtry, the
"He is popularly thought to be a kind of country explainer, when in fact he seems more interested in increasing our store of mysteries than our store of knowledge," McMurtry wrote. "He loves the obscure, indeterminate nature of rural legend and likes nothing better than to retell stories the full truth of which can never be known."
Graves was born in Fort Worth on Aug. 6, 1920. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from
He taught for two years at the University of Texas, then took time off to travel and explore the world. He went back to Fort Worth in early 1957 to be near his father, who was dying of cancer. In the fall of that year, he took his famous canoe trip down the Brazos. In 1958 he began teaching again, this time at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
Graves is survived by his wife, Jane, and two daughters.