William J. Cobb's Goodnight, Texas a not-to-be-missed story of remarkable beauty and power showcases fascinating characters who face devastation and hopelessness in the midst of this divine comedy, which overflows with the bittersweet joys of living and loving. When a colossal zebrafish washes up on the beach in Goodnight, Texas, the residents aren't sure what to make of the ominous creature. Seventeen-year-old Falk, restless in his adolescence and his job as a cook at the Black Tooth CafŽ, wants to sell his photographs of the beached behemoth to make a name for himself. The cafŽ's owner, cynical Russian immigrant Gusef, wants to transform the dead fish into an outlandish rooftop ornament for his cafŽ. Una, the seductive Vietnamese-Mexican waitress involved in a fiery relationship with the short-tempered Gabriel, remains indifferent to the grotesque fish even though it is drawing her dangerously closer to the younger Falk. Meanwhile, Gabriel cares nothing about the malodorous flotsam. He lost his job on the down-and-out shrimp boats, and he will soon need to do something desperate in order to reclaim Una's affection. Clearly, pressures are building in this depressed Gulf Coast fishing community. People are beginning to make irreversible mistakes, and the mysterious zebrafish is not helping matters. Then, quite suddenly, all of Goodnight must confront other problems: Hurricane Tanya is on its way, and because of its apocalyptic ferocity no one in Goodnight will ever again look at life in the same way. Poignant and memorable, Goodnight, Texas is a luminous tale of buoyancy and endurance, and it ought to be required reading for anyone who has ever pondered the indifferent cruelty of cosmic irony, and for anyone who has ever faced life-changing choices or, perhaps more accurately, the illusion of such choices.

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