Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard, the Early Years

by Joe R. Lansdale
Tachyon, May 2020, $15.95

In Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard, the Early Years, author Joe R. Lansdale provides keen insight into his dynamic duo’s formative years, telling two tales of Hap’s youth, “The Kitchen” and “Of Mice and Minestrone,” and three stories about the two friends, taking place on or around the second decade of their lives: the short but impactful “The Watering Shed,” the deadly serious but often laugh-out-loud “The Sparring Partner” (recalling Lansdale’s other great boxing story, The Big Blow), and the Hemingwayesque “The Sabine Was High,” which details the boys’ individual experiences of the Vietnam War. The stories are complemented by a lengthy appendix featuring recipes which figured in each of the stories, making this slim volume both satisfying to the mind and the appetite.

Hank Wagner
Teri Duerr
May 2020