Books: Joe's Journey

MIDNIGHT COWBOY by James Leo Herlihy. 253 pages. Simon & Schuster. $4.95.

Joe Buck is Texas-born and New Mexico-bred, strong in the trousers and weak in the head. At 27, he imagines himself a sort of composite TV cowboy and spends most of his time riding mattresses. Somehow he decides that riding conditions are better in the East: "The men there is just faggots mostly, so the women got to buy what they want." As the book begins, he is heading for Manhattan with mounting hopes.

Joe's journey inspires a mixture of emotions. On the face of it, the book is a comedy...

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