By Kate Wilson
Updated September 10, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Sarah Bird’s fourth novel, Virgin of the Rodeo, is pure Texas: It’s charming, it’s twangy, and some of its characters need a dunking in the stock tank. Heading the list is Sonja Getz, the scowling intellectual offspring of a dainty mother and an unknown rodeo roper. Sonja tries to track her father on the rodeo circuit, sure of only two things: that he’s a Native American and that her heritage is therefore cleaner and nobler than almost anyone’s. Bird lets Sonja’s supposedly comic loftiness get tiresome, but while waiting for Sonja to lighten up, readers can bask in the writer’s gleeful Texas language and sketches. The word squeezing becomes skaweezin, hurricane is hurkin, and a bridegroom at the altar wears ”the transfixed-by-terror look so frequently captured by driver’s license photographers and taxidermists.” B