New Mexico Sunrise
Photo by Dave.Patrick used under a Creative Commons license.

Richard Bradford, Red Sky At Morning (Harper Perennial, 1999).
A coming-of-age story about teenaged Josh Arnold.  After his father enlists in the Navy during World War II, Josh and his mother move from Alabama to Sagrado, New Mexico — a fictionalized Santa Fe — for Josh’s senior year of high school.  The story is autobiographical in part; Bradford moved to Santa Fe when he was twelve. First published in 1968, and written with a lovely and dry sense of humor. Not to be confused with the 2004 book of the same title by James Gustave Speth.

Bradford passed away in 2002; here is The New York Times‘ obituary. Orrin says it’s one of the great coming-of-age tales and one of the funniest books in any genre. Bunny Terry reads it at least once a year because (among other things) it reminds her how much she loves New Mexico. New Mexico writer Michael McGarrity tells everyone who comes to Santa Fe that this is a book they need to read. Jay Miller says it captures the essence of Santa Fe. Karen Fayeth calls it a quintessential New Mexico read. Sarah Wolf calls it a beautifully rendered portrait of New Mexico and its people. Julie says it’s a well-written and engaging book. Dr. Angeline Theisen is a Red Sky At Morning missionary; she’s it’s a cure for malaise. Dinged Corners says it’s one of American literature’s most complex and engaging coming-of-age stories. Jeane Nevarez says it’s a good read. Patrick O’Hannigan calls it the most under-rated of great American novels. On the other hand, Bryan R. Terry hated it and still detests it. The publisher offers this reading guide. When you’re done with the book, you can watch the 1971 movie.

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