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2. When the Light Goes: A Novel
3. Comanche Moon : A Novel
4. Rhino Ranch: A Novel (Thalia Trilogy)
5. Books: A Memoir
6. Literary Life: A Second Memoir
7. Sin Killer: A Novel (The Berrybender
8. Folly and Glory: A Novel (The
10. Crazy Horse: A Life (Penguin Lives
11. Dead Man's Walk
12. Terms of Endearment: A Novel
13. Hollywood: A Third Memoir
14. Sacagawea's Nickname: Essays on
15. By Sorrow's River: A Novel (The
16. The Late Child : A Novel
17. The Colonel and Little Missie:
18. Some Can Whistle
19. Film Flam : Essays on Hollywood
20. Moving On: A Novel

by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 304 Pages (2002-08-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684853876
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

My foot's in the stirrup,
My pony won't stand;
Goodbye, old partner,
I'm leaving Cheyenne.

-- Old cowboy song

Leaving Cheyenne, Larry McMurtry's second novel, traces the loves of three West Texas characters as they follow that sundown trail: Gideon Fry, the serious rancher; Johnny McCloud, the free-spirited cowhand; and Molly Taylor, the sensitive woman they both love and who bears them each a son. Tragic circumstances mark the trail but McMurtry's style never turns melodramatic or sentimental. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars Early McMurtry
Larry McMurtry's LEAVING CHEYENNE has hints of the brillance that would come
with HORSEMAN, PASS BY and LONESOME DOVE. At the heart of the narrative is a love triangle between Gid, Johnny and Molly over sixty years. Love is actually the wrong word as selfishness is at the heart of each, but so is heartbreak. And yet, there are tiny moments of grace and redemption, be they ever so slight and then immediately gone. Not an easy book to read by any means, but one that contains some early laughs and deep thoughts about how quickly live moves and how decisions one makes young last a lifetime.

4-0 out of 5 stars Smooth story-telling, touching, and worthwhile
This early effort by master writer Larry McMurtry is one of his finer works and worth reading by all McMurtry fans and anyone interested in a book of the contemporary West. Using first person, the book captures the essence and the lives of three people including their fears, their joys, their sorrows, and mostly their reactions to the various events that occur. The odd love triangle somehow seems normal and even improves upon their lives.

Each person is unique with an individual personality and value system and the love of each other shines forth with a rare kind of emotion that is not easily dismissed. This makes the expansive story seem personal regardless of the extensive time period being covered. As they play out their lives and their disappointments, they somehow retain their optimism through the special relationships that exist and never seem to wane.

Humorous situations abound throughout the book and the tender moments are balanced with energy and action. Obviously McMurty's perceptions about people and his experience living in the West find accurate fruition in this marvelous story. Leaving Cheyenne is a special book that allows the reader moments of reflection and admiration of hard work, friendships, and constant love of life and people. While hints of the future Pulitzer prize winning author can be found, at the same time, this book stands alone and does not need comparison to other McMurtry books.

Leaving Cheyenne is highly recommended and upon completion will not be forgotten. A wonderful read in all respects. While the ending was necessary, it was also rather...okay, need to avoid a spoiler!

2-0 out of 5 stars Futility in Texas
A sense of finality and futility awaits the reader at the end of Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurty. The three narrators, whose lives span the period between the late 1800s and the mid-to-late 1900s, seem to expend effort and achieve little for their daily struggles. Conscientious Gideon Fry, married to Mabel, extends his beloved Texas ranch, increasing its acreage through years of work. Best friend Johnny McCloud, carefree cowboy, earns his living in others' employ but also holds on to his nearby tiny plot. Shared lover, Molly Taylor, tends her adjoining hardscrabble farm faithfully. Although married to Eddie White, she gives birth to two boys, one by Gideon and one by Johnny, both sons later killed in World War II military service. When Eddie accidentally falls to his death from an oil derrick, Molly continues her relationships with Gid and Johnny and her solitary dedication to her lifelong home. They all are overcome by changes in technology and transportation, leaving behind their beloved Texas land which is unlikely to be similarly respected and cultivated by others.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Master Storyteller Struts His Stuff
To readers of this space it is no surprise that I am reviewing a Larry McMurtry novel. I have "discovered" this little Texas gem of an author recently (although I knew of him and some of his work earlier). Naturally, once I get "high" on an author I tend to read everything that I can get my hands on. A partial reason for that is that the number of fiction writers who hold my attention is rather limited, but mainly I like to see the high and low sides of the writer's career so that I can revel in the reflected glory of my very good choice in picking the author to comment on. I also tend to read an author's output as I lay my hands on his or her work rather than any particular order. Thus, at present I am reviewing this late work (2004) and an early work Leaving Cheyenne (1962) at the same time. Loop Group definitely suffers in comparison to that earlier work.

If I tried to put my finger on what is the outstanding attribute of a good Larry McMurtry read that would most probably be that he is a thoughtful and credible storyteller. The structure of such a story permits one to sift through life's issues whether it is the vagaries of coming of age, the trauma of a mid-life crisis or the grimness of the struggle against mortality. This, moreover, has nothing to with locale or occupation. As a die-hard older urban Northerner Western stories, modern or from the Old West, would not usually be my natural choice of reading. However, when McMurtry is in his "high" story telling mode and he develops incidents that are believable and has characters do things that seem within the realm of human experience -and that permit one to care about and reflect upon the fates of the characters if only for the length of the story- then he is a premier American writer. That, fortunately, is the case here. Here we have "high" McMurtry. Why?

There are many ways to tell a love story. There are many ways to conceive of a love triangle, as here with the saga of the lives of Gid, Johnny and Molly out in West Texas, just East of Eden in Thalia by McMurtry's lights, in roughly the middle third of the 20th century. There are many ways to put obstacles in the way of a satisfactory resolution of a love triangle in puritanically-driven America. McMurtry has come up with a very innovative method of doing this. In the first section we get the all the tensions of young love, hindered by a father-inspired driven sense of responsibility, as told by Gid. In the second section we get the mixed fruits of that puritan sense of responsibility on Gid's part, the lack of it on Johnny's part and also of girlish indecision as told by Molly, with the proviso that as she tells her tale she is a mother who has lost two sons to war and paid a pretty high price for that earlier indecision. In the final segment we get the inevitable struggle against the vicissitudes of mortality, as told humorously and with a little pathos by Johnny.

This is nicely done and the individual stories are woven together almost seamlessly so that the first event concerning Gid's and Johnny's rivalry for Molly described by Gid in Chapter One gets a very different look as told by Johnny at the end forty years later. Moreover, with some other nice humorous touches added alone the way concerning some of the minor characters like Molly's father and an old goat herder, including animals, as well as exploration of the necessary hardships of running a ranch, a labor-intensivebusiness operation subject to all the randomness of nature. But, better than that we are given an emotional roller coaster ride as these three West Texas characters try to make sense of life, their previous histories and their entanglements together. If Loop Group was a low in the literary marathon McMurtry is running then Leaving Cheyenne is prima facie evidence for his honored place in the American literary pantheon. Kudos.

5-0 out of 5 stars Authentic writing
This is pre-Hollywood McMurtry and, I feel, his best.He can make you laugh and cry, but this novel does more. It helps me understand my grandmother & grandfather more (Crockett County, Texas ranchers) and is a wonderful glimpse at a life so different from current American pop culture.

I read Anna Karenina and was struck by how similar the issues discussed in the book were to contemporary issues half a world away.I read Leaving Cheyenne and am struck by how different my values and lifestlye are compared to just two generations ago in the same geography.

This book is such a pleasant and mature read.When you want to escape and admire something that is close to you but eerily alien, this book can put you there. ... Read more

2. When the Light Goes: A Novel
by Larry McMurtry
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2007-03-06)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$3.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000WPODVU
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In this masterful and often surprising sequel to the acclaimed Duane's Depressed, the Pulitzer Prize- and Oscar-winning author of Lonesome Dove has written a haunting, elegiac, and occasionally erotic novel about one of his most beloved characters. Duane Moore first made his appearance in The Last Picture Showand, like his author, he has aged but not lost his vigor or his taste for life.

Back from a two-week trip to Egypt, Duane finds he cannot readjust to life in Thalia, the small, dusty, West Texas hometown in which he has spent all of his life. In the short time he was away, it seems that everything has changed alarmingly. His office barely has a reason to exist now that his son Dickie is running the company from Wichita Falls, his lifelong friends seem to have suddenly grown old, his familiar hangout, once a good old-fashioned convenience store, has been transformed into an "Asian Wonder Deli," his daughters seem to have taken leave of their senses and moved on to new and strange lives, and his own health is at serious risk.

It's as if Duane cannot find any solace or familiarity in Thalia and cannot even bring himself to revisit the house he shared for decades with his late wife, Karla, and their children and grandchildren. He spends his days aimlessly riding his bicycle (already a sign of serious eccentricity in West Texas) and living in his cabin outside town. The more he tries to get back to the rhythm of his old life, the more he realizes that he should have left Thalia long ago -- indeed everybody he cared for seems to have moved on without him, to new lives or to death.

The only consolation is meeting the young, attractive geologist, Annie Cameron, whom Dickie has hired to work out of the Thalia office. Annie is brazenlyseductive, yet oddly cold, young enough to be Duane's daughter, or worse, and Duane hasn't a clue how to handle her. He's also in love with his psychiatrist, Honor Carmichael, who after years of rebuffing him, has decided to undertake what she feels is Duane's very necessary sex reeducation, opening him up to some major, life-changing surprises.

For the lesson of When the Light Goes is that where there's life, there is indeed hope -- Duane, widowed, displaced from whatever is left of his own life, suddenly rootless in the middle of his own hometown, and at risk of death from a heart that also doesn't seem to be doing its job, is in the end saved by sex, by love, and by his own compassionate and intense interest in other people and the surprises they reveal.

At once realistic and life-loving, often hilariously funny, and always moving, though without a touch of sentimentality, Larry McMurtry has opened up a new chapter in Duane's life and, in doing so, written one of his finest and most compelling novels to date, doing for Duane what he did so triumphantly for Aurora in Terms of Endearment. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (40)

4-0 out of 5 stars short but enjoyable read
A short book by Larry McMurtry(190 pages) is better than long books by most other authors(90%). If you read the prior 3 novels this is a must read. But I also thinks it stands on it's own. Duane Moore is an enjoyable character and Larry's portrayal of his life feels both real and very touching. I feel it was well worth the price.

3-0 out of 5 stars Kind of a Shock, Coming from a Master
Like many of America's finest novelists (John Updike and Philip Roth spring immediately to mind), Larry McMurtry has dealt tellingly with the subject of human sexuality since the long-ago dawn of his career. And he's done some very memorable work on the subject, especially in the so-called Thalia trilogy comprising "The Last Picture Show", "Texasville", and "Duane's Depressed"--books that, in very different ways, are great contributions to our literature.

A reader felt that he understood Duane Moore, the hard-bitten teenager whose father died in his youth, who was drafted into the Army right out of high school, and who overcome his many setbacks to found a small but prosperous oil company. Duane's considerable needs (especially in the sexual department) seemed to be a function of his deprivation of anything resembling a childhood. And his lackluster attempt at raising a family mirrored his lack of any credible example in his youth. For all of his drawbacks, Duane Moore had weathered the storm pretty well, and without complaint. He was a man we felt privileged to know.

That's why I can't understand why Larry McMurtry chose to take one of his most admirable (if flawed) characters and create this tawdry porn pamphlet around him. Duane's healthy interest in sex was one of the things that drove him--but that's no reason to suddenly drop an educated, gorgeous 26-year-old virgin from California (yes, you read that right) into the remote precincts of Thalia, Texas. No points for guessing who's the lucky man who gets to educate her about the finer things in life.

I might even forgive McMurtry that enormous lapse in novelistic judgment, if he hadn't committed the even more egregious crime of bedding Duane with Honor Carmichael, his intriguing and challenging lesbian psychiatrist from "Duane's Depressed." If deflowering a beautiful virgin (from California!) is the fantasy of every horny teenaged boy, convincing a committed lesbian--who, as we are informed in many paragraphs of lurid prose, suddenly lusts for a male encounter--to hop into the sack is a page right out of the worst exemplars of dimestore pornography. And I'm overlooking the fact that the rather prim and proper Dr. Carmichael suddenly violates all of her professional ethics--repeatedly--for across-the-boundary sex that isn't particularly satisfying, or even interesting.

Toward the end of "Duane's Depressed," Duane indulges in a flirtation with a tired Mexican woman working in a Wichita Falls diner. McMurtry would have been better advised to have pursued this avenue and given Duane Moore some dignity. As the inexplicably jacked-up (with a failing heart, yet!) stud of north-central Texas, Larry McMurtry's beloved Duane leaves all of his middle-aged readers to ponder weighty issues like mortality, declining vigor.... and what life might be like if you woke up one day at 64 to find that you were seducing 26-year-old virgins and lesbian psychiatrists.

Good luck with that, Larry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mcmurty redux
This is a zany conclusion to the Duane series. A life-affirming p[erspective on aging and impending close of life, far better than the depressing perspective of recent Philip Roth wroiting. It's a form of tripping the light fantastic.

5-0 out of 5 stars McMurtry
This one is short, but still great.I wish I had purchased Duane's Depressed first so I could have the background story.

3-0 out of 5 stars When the Light goes Out
I'm a big Larry McMurtry fan and I've read everything he wrote through "Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen" and much of his subsequent work.The first of his books that I read was "The Last Picture Show" which made a major impression on me as a college freshman.I think the first real disappointment I had with one of his books was the first TLPS sequel "Texasville".

After "The Evening Star" I noticed a definite decline in McMurtry's works.I later came to understand that this was probably a result of his heart attack that ocurred while writing "The Evening Star".I kept reading his books out of loyalty to his past achievements and occassionally found a diamond in the rough.One of those was the second sequel to TLPS, "Duane's Depressed".It starts out with the same ridiculous dialogue from ridiculous characters involved in ridiculous events and activities that plagues McMurtry's later works.However, it settles into a meaningful examination of a man who was contemplating the meaning and purpose of life from a "later in life" perspective.I was moved by "Duane's Depressed" in much the way I had been moved by "The Last Picture Show".I sensed that I was growing up with Duane (although I identified myself with Sonny much more than Duane).A few more attempts at futility while reading the first two Berrybender books and I just about gave up McMurtry for good.However, when I saw "When the Light Goes", I wanted to see what had happened to my old friend Duane.

"When the Light Goes" is a short novella.It lists as 195 pages but at least a dozen of those pages are blank.The rest of them are generally filled with the same old ridiculous characters saying ridiculous things and getting involved in ridiculous situations.What is relatively new to these sequels is an elaborate literary description of sex.This book could justify the classification of pornography and there isn't much justification for all this detail.I can sense a purpose for some discussion on the subject inasmuch as Duane is confronting the limits of his masculinilty after realizing his heart troubles.However, the details and frequency of them made me wonder why I was reading this.There ARE some aspects of Duane's continuing maturity.However, I noted that the last chapter (Capter 50 in a 195 page book!!!) covered, in five pages, more events than the previous 190 pages.

I know that the heart attack he suffered had a great effect on Larry McMurtry.I know because he told us in some of his later writings.I found much of his observations to be helpful in understanding people I know who have experienced the same life-changing event.I can't help but notice that McMurtry's books and chapters have shrunk greatly.Maybe he needs to pay the rent but it seems to me that he has lost his literary attention span.It's almost as though he gives us a rough sketch of an imagined plot and fills in all the dialogue.In my book, "When the Light Goes" is strictly for those who want to follow the saga of Duane Moore and perhaps, the saga of Larry McMurtry. ... Read more

3. Comanche Moon : A Novel
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 720 Pages (2000-10-17)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$8.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684857553
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The second book of Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove tetralogy, Comache Moon takes us once again into the world of the American West.

Texas Rangers August McCrae and Woodrow Call, now in their middle years, continue to deal with the ever-increasing tensions of adult life -- Gus with his great love, Clara Forsythe, and Call with Maggie Tilton, the young whore who loves him. Two proud but very different men, they enlist with the Ranger troop in pursuit of Buffalo Hump, the great Comanche war chief; Kicking Wolf, the celebrated Comanche horse thief; and a deadly Mexican bandit king with a penchant for torture. Assisting the Rangers in their wild chase is the renowned Kickapoo tracker, Famous Shoes.

Comanche Moon closes the twenty-year gap between Dead Man's Walk and Lonesome Dove, following beloved heroes Gus and Call and their comrades in arms -- Deets, Jake Spoon, and Pea Eye Parker -- in their bitter struggle to protect the advancing West frontier against the defiant Comanches, courageously determined to defend their territory and their way of life.Amazon.com Review
In a book that serves as a both a sequel to Dead Man's Walkand a prequel to the beloved Lonesome Dove,McMurtry fills in the missing chapters in the Call and McCrae saga. Itis a fantastic read, in many ways the best and gutsiest of theseries. We join the Texas Rangers in their waning Indian-fightingyears. The Comanches, after one last desperate raid led by thefearsome-but-aging Buffalo Hump, are almost defeated, though BuffaloHump's son, Blue Duck, still terrorizes the relentless flow ofsettlers and lawmen. As Augustus and Woodrow follow one-eyed,tobacco-spitting Captain Inish Scull deep into a murderous madman'sden in Mexico, their thoughts turn toward the end of their careers andthe women they love in remarkably different ways back inAustin. What's amazing about McMurtry's West is that he sees beyondthe romance. Neither his Indians, his cowboys, his gunslingers, norhis women act the way they did in either Zane Grey novels or JohnWayne movies. Incredible beauty and lightning-quick violence are thebookends of his West, but it is the in-between moments of sufferingand boredom where McMurtry shines. The suffering is poignant andheart-rending; the boredom tempered with doses of Augustus McCrae'ssharp humor. Don't be surprised if you find yourself crying andlaughing on the same page. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (144)

5-0 out of 5 stars I read this before Lonesome Dove
This was an excellent book, a great adventure. Since it chronologically happens before Lonesome Dove, I read it first. I think it made Lonesome Dove even better!

5-0 out of 5 stars Comanche Moon
Larry McMurtry's `Comanche Moon' follows the Texas Ranger Captains Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae in their middle years. This is a stand alone book in the series which can be read with enjoyment and understanding by itself. In `Comanche Moon, McMurtry's isolating and development of each character's voice is amazing. Coupled with entrancing detailed descriptions of the Texas badlands interspersed throughout, `Comanche Moon' is McMurtry's best of series. I have never been a fan of novel landscaping minutia. McMurtry writes word pictures with enthralling technique. I know gritty westerns aren't for everyone. If you've ever wanted to try one out, `Comanche Moon' would be my recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Review for those who have not read "Lonesome Dove" yet.
The adventure continues for, now veteran, Texas Rangers Woodrow Call and Augustus (Gus) McCrae on the plains of Texas in the mid-1800's. We follow these two best friends through many adventures and hardships in this second installment of Larry McMurtry's epic Lonesome Dove series.
This book takes place a number of years after Dead Man's Walk left off. At this point Gus and Call are now part of the Ranger troop led by the Infamous Inish Scull. Scull and his troop's sole purpose are to destroy their abhorred enemy: The Comanche Indian and their Great War chief, Buffalo Hump. Both of which are formidable opponents especially the dreaded Buffalo Hump who is known for not only killing incredible amounts of white men but torture as well.
When urgent business calls Captain Scull he (almost haphazardly) assigns Gus and Call to captain of his beloved troop, who then leads their troop to the safety of Austin. This marks the beginning of their new career as captains of the Texas Rangers, a cherished and long sought-after position by many a Texan. But they soon learn it isn't as glamorous as it appears. Between low wages, crooked governors, men and close friends dying, and countless other obstacles Gus and Call start wondering if this is really what they want to do for the rest of their lives and if not what will be the next step for these two men who know nothing but rangering?
Most books over 700 pages can start to feel like a chore and often times make you question if it's worth actually getting to the top of the never-ending mountain. This was not the case for Comanche Moon. At no point did I feel obligated to finish it but rather turned the pages as quickly as if I was looking a word up in the dictionary and was a couple pages away. The characters are extremely well-defined and you are brought to a personal level with nearly a dozen different characters. Some loveable, some likeable, some so venomously evil you couldn't imagine being in the situation where you had to actually face them.
The aforementioned Inish Scull has become one of my favorite literary characters to date. His quick-wittedness and genius will have you laughing and rooting for this complicated man. Especially when he is faced with the most perilous situation one can imagine.
Also we dig much deeper into the lives and heads of our two heroes, along their loves, their pains, their triumphs, and their regrets. Both seem like simple men, neither are.

The point of the book where McMurtry really shine is in the last 50 pages, when he describes the grizzly murder of the now elderly Buffalo Hump by his banished son. I wouldn't have thought possible if the smartest literary minds all told me but McMurtry actually made you sympathize with the aging Indian. Throughout the previous 1000-1100 pages (spanning two different books) he has described this man as such a hated villain and feared individual that his death should be a triumph for the Rangers, but you actually have to hold back a tear. It was that good.
I've yet to read Lonesome Dove and all I hear is that it is such a cornerstone of literary history. If it is actually better than Comanche Moon it must be. Bottom line: read this book. Might be my favorite book ever.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another classic
NO ONE makes you feel as much a part of the story as larry mcmurtry. when i put one of his books down i generally have to get a glass of water to get the dust out. I enjoyed comanche moon, but felt it just left me hanging, which would be fine, except that i already read the other 3 parts to the series. as i was reading comanche i wondered how the book would have been if read in sequencial order, not knowing the future. GUS AND CALL are probably the two best characters in american fiction, and in comanche moon you can find several reasons not to like CALL. read this if you have read lonesome dove or plan to read it. alone, i am not sure.

5-0 out of 5 stars real characters, in three dimension
I wish I had read the book before I saw the movie. So much more realism in the book. The characters seem to jump out of the pages and become real. I cant wait to get back to reading after I have stopped. I want to finish this so I can get to the next book. ... Read more

4. Rhino Ranch: A Novel (Thalia Trilogy)
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 288 Pages (2010-06-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439156409
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In this poignant and striking final chapter in the Duane Moore story, which began in 1966 with The Last Picture Show, Pulitzer Prize- and Oscar-winning author Larry McMurtry takes readers on one last unforgettable journey to Thalia, Texas, a town that continues to change at a breakneck pace even as Duane feels himself slowing down.

Returning home to recover from a near-fatal heart attack, Duane discovers that he has a new neighbor: the statuesque K. K. Slater, a quirky billionairess who's come to Thalia to open the Rhino Ranch, dedicated to the preservation of the endangered black rhinoceros. Despite their obvious differences, Duane can't help but find himself charmed by K.K.'s stubborn toughness and lively spirit, and the two embark on a flirtation that rapidly veers toward the sexual -- but the return of Honor Carmichael complicates Duane's romantic intentions considerably. As Duane reflects on all that he and Thalia have been through, he feels adrift in a world where love and betrayal walk hand in hand and a stalwart Texas oil town can become home to a nature preserve.

Rhino Ranch is a fitting end to this iconic saga, an emotional, whimsical and bittersweet tribute to the lives of a man and a town that have inspired readers across decades. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars Rhino Ranch
Classic McMurtry always leaves me wanting more. I will miss Duane Moore and his friends.

4-0 out of 5 stars Its been a sweet ride. . . .
Its been a sweet ride with Duane, his family and friends. I really hated to finish the book.
Now I gotta ask, so when is the third movie of the "Texas Trilogy" comming out?

5-0 out of 5 stars Good service
The book arrived in a timely manner, and was just what I ordered.Can't do any better than that.

1-0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, hard to follow, silly
Maybe Larry McMurty felt compelled to write something, or maybe he was pushed. This exercise is as far from the artistry of Lonesome Dove as Mad Magazine from the Mona Lisa. A real disappointment. Could not finish.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rhino Ranch
Another gem from McMurtry and another chapter in the Thalia series. McMurtry always writes a good book, with characters that seem real. People you could actually meet on the street. I find him very easy to read and hard to put down. I recommend it. ... Read more

5. Books: A Memoir
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 272 Pages (2009-07-14)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416583351
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In a prolific life of singular literary achievement, Larry McMurtry has succeeded in a variety of genres: in coming-of-age novels like The Last Picture Show; in collections of essays like In a Narrow Grave; and in the reinvention of the Western on a grand scale in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Lonesome Dove. Now, in Books: A Memoir, McMurtry writes about his endless passion for books: as a boy growing up in a largely "bookless" world; as a young man devouring the vastness of literature with astonishing energy; as a fledgling writer and family man; and above all, as one of America's most prominent bookmen. He takes us on his journey to becoming an astute, adventurous book scout and collector who would eventually open stores of rare and collectible editions in Georgetown, Houston, and finally, in his previously "bookless" hometown of Archer City, Texas.

In this work of extraordinary charm, grace, and good humor, McMurtry recounts his life as both a reader and a writer, how the countless books he has read worked to form his literary tastes, while giving us a lively look at the eccentrics who collect, sell, or simply lust after rare volumes. Books: A Memoir is like the best kind of diary -- full of McMurtry's wonderful anecdotes, amazing characters, engaging gossip, and shrewd observations about authors, book people, literature, and the author himself. At once chatty, revealing, and deeply satisfying, Books is, like McMurtry, erudite, life loving, and filled with excellent stories. It is a book to be savored and enjoyed again and again.Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, July 2008: It wasn't enough for Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry to become one of the most prolific, bestselling, and beloved of American writers.Besides writing nearly forty books, including the Pultizer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove, he has emerged as one this nation's greatest bookmen. In Books: A Memoir, McMurtry shares with readers his lifelong passion and dogged pursuit of books.In short, gem-like chapters, he paints a fascinating picture of the landscape of American book culture and book selling over a 50-year period.The story is as dusty, musty and crusty as any of McMurtry's fictionalized Westerns, and filled with characters who seem like they stepped out of central casting.Whether you love McMurtry, books, bookstores or a combination thereof, you'll find something to love in Books: A Memoir. Settle in with a cuppa coffee and let McMurtry kindle your passion for physical books. --Lauren Nemroff ... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

1-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish it.
I found the book very boring and gave up about 1/3 of the way through.

1-0 out of 5 stars Weak - a Roy Rogers without the cherry!
This is a book I CAN put down rather easily. It has no "juice".

Reminds me of an inferior iteration of a W.S. Burroughs cut-up job, randomly incomplete snippets of a bookman's life.I'm about halfway through "Books" and I am finding it quite lacking on so many levels.McMurtry just gets started with something of interest, and poof, he moves on to something else almost fascinating only to leave his reader once again in the dust.It's maddening. Of course I can't stop reading it right in the middle so I will continue through to the end, although I know I will regret losing another hour to finish it.

Learning of his early upbringing with no books in the house, I was hooked.When he begins to tell of his growing passion for books, and his fear that this would be a narrative of interest only to others with a similar passion, I became excited to read more.McMurty does not deliver. Rather than holding my attention and awe, I find "books" to have devolved after the first few chapters into something quite dreadful and boring.

An author with the ability to write as McMurtry does has cheated an audience he alone might have held in the palm of his hand.Rather than caress fellow bookmen like some fine leather tome he might hold in high regard, he has relegated us to the remainder pile, covers removed...no love at all.It is a shame, as I am certain the depth of his real life in books is far more interesting than the poorly rendered skin of what he has provided here.

I noticed McMurtry split up his memoirs into 3 parts. Reeks of over-commercialism, and I already feel like it won't be worth the time to read the other 2.After reading the reviews for those, I definitely won't purchase either of them.

3-0 out of 5 stars A story of one man's love of books...growing to read, love, collect, use then write his own.
Books: A Memoir
Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I think it's fairly easy to understand how a writer like myself would appreciate a book by the name of Books: A Memoir. This book by McMurtry is special, however, because it is the story (actually, a whole lot of stories) of how a person raised in a small ranch house in the village of Archer City, Texas, where there were no books ("the bookless ranch house") could grow to read, love, collect, and use -- then write his own -- books. To me, that fact alone, warrants the stories he tells, warrants reading this book. McMurtry grew up in a storytelling culture, and obviously it had a profound, engaging, and long-term effect on his life (and all this time I thought it was the possession, availability, and reading to children -- from in the womb until they can read on their own -- that was the influence that mattered!). What this book is, is a series of vignettes about McMurtry's life with books. Not only does he write about books he treasures and acquires and sells, but you get a wonderful picture of the writer himself: "My method of writing a novel was, from the first, to get up early and dash off five pages of narrative. That is still my method, though now I dash off ten pages a day. I write every day, ignoring holidays and weekends" (p. 49). "Once my writing duty was done each morning," McMurtry writes, "I went out into the city and spent the rest of my day in bookstores" (p. 53). This isn't a book for everyone. McMurtry spends a great deal of time naming names: books, people, places, relatives, friends of friends, characters, etc. Also, if you have no interest in book scouting, book acquisitions, book trading, or running a bookshop, this book is likely to hold little interest for you. I found his vignettes, as one reviewer of his book said, "entertaining, educational, vividly portrayed, and descriptive."

5-0 out of 5 stars Bibliomania
I share Larry McMurtry's appetite for books, but haven't acted on it as he has.This is a wonderful book, full of book lore and fine descriptions of a number of eccentric personalities.It is also an excellent memoir.

The ranch house of the author's childhood was built on Montgomery Ward plans.McMurtry's father was a cattleman, not a farmer.The family really didn't have books.Then his cousin Robert gave Larry a box of books before the cousin went into the service in 1942 as he was cutting the second semester of the first grade.Shortly after that the family moved to Archer City and became, he remarks facetiously, middle class.The family acquired THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA and MY BOOK HOUSE.

The writer started his book hunting by looking into abandoned farmhouses.As an adolescent, McMurtry read what he could scrounge.In the mid sixties he started to collect vintage mass market paperbacks.During his first stay at Rice University for a year and a half, he spent most of the time in the library.He was squeezed out of Rice by freshman math.

During the first twenty years of book hunting McMurtry read nearly all of the books he acquired.He graduated from North Texas State, received an MA from Rice, and was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford.His first novel was HORSEMAN PASS BY, (made into the movie HUD), and the second was LEAVING CHEYENNE.McMurtry scouted books in the Bay area, at one time San Francisco had so many antiquarian bookshops he couldn't cover them all, and spent two and a half years in Houston working for Grace David at the Bookman.McMurtry was sent on two buying trips to the East Coast and one to the West Coast.

The author thought he did well when he sold a book for seven hundred fifty dollars at five hundred dollars profit.He found out later the book was sold subsequently for eight thousand dollars.The author's character, Cadillac Jack, was made an antiques scout rather than a book scout because McMurtry knew how hard it is to get the common reader interested in the intricacies of the book trade.

The auction of Lowdermilk's stock in 1970 in the District of Columbia was an opportunity for McMurtry and Marcia Carter to get into book selling.Booked Up opened in Georgetown in 1971.Many secondhand bookshops were closing then, although Powell's, the Tattered Cover in Denver, and the Strand remained viable.In writing talents may exhaust their gifts, but book selling is progressive because it is based upon acquired knowledge.

McMurtry wonders, (with Cyril Connolly), whether reading has become a mandarin pursuit.McMurtry never wanted to be without books.That was his motive in book selling. As Richard Booth brought books to Hay-on-Wye in Wales, Larry McMurtry brought books to Archer City after rents in Georgetown became exorbitant.

3-0 out of 5 stars For the Trader Rather than the Reader
When I saw the word "memoir" in the subtitle of this volume, I expected the work would reveal how reading had affected McMurtry's development as an award-winning novelist and screenwriter.I should have paid closer attention. Instead, this offering consists largely of McMurtry's passion for locating, buying, and selling books. In fact, much of it is merely reporting on transactions, with one or two-page "chapters" detailing books that were found, bought, and then sold again. McMurtry's ardor for trading eclipses his love for reading, writing, and teaching.

This book does create some interesting context for McMurtry's life, including how he went from growing up in a book-less home on a Texas ranch to starting his own bookstore in Georgetown in 1970 called Booked Up, which was moved in 1988 to Archer City, Texas and is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country.

"Books" is a who's who of the often colorful and eccentric players in the antiquarian book trade when--prior to the internet--scouting for books was more of a hands-on experience.

If the sourcing and trading of rare books quickens your pulse, you will enjoy the recollections in "Books."However, if you are looking for an exploration of how reading has influenced a writer's life, you will want to look for other memoirs and literary biographies.
... Read more

6. Literary Life: A Second Memoir
by Larry McMurtry
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2009-12-08)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$0.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439159939
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
"I had expected to be thrilled when I received my first copy of my first book, but when I opened the package and held the first copy in my hand, I found that I just felt sort of flat," writes Larry McMurtry in Literary Life. "I learned then and have relearned many times since, that the best part of a writer's life is actually doing it, making up characters, filling the blank page, creating scenes that readers in distant places might connect to. The thrill lies in the rush of sentences, the gradual arrival of characters who at once seem to have their own life."

McMurtry is that rarest of artists, a prolific and genre-transcending writer as popular with reviewers as he is with his readers. The author of more than forty books -- including essay collections, memoirs, and novels ranging from the Duane Moore series that began with The Last Picture Show to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove -- McMurtry has delighted generations with his witty and elegant prose. In Literary Life, the sequel to Books, McMurtry expounds on life on the private side: the trials and triumphs of being a writer.

From his earliest inkling of his future career while at Rice University, to his tenure as a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford with Ken Kesey in 1960, to his incredible triumphs as a bestselling author, Literary Life retains all the intimacy and charm of McMurtry's previous autobiographical works. Replete with literary anecdotes and packed with memorable observations about writing, writers, and the author himself, the book provides a rare glimpse into the life and intellect of a brilliantly insightful man. It is a work that will be cherished not only by McMurtry's admirers, but by the innumerable aspiring writers who seek to make their own mark on American literature. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

2-0 out of 5 stars McMurtry offers some savory bits, but they're disjointed and poorly edited
Like many others I am a fan of Larry McMurtry; I like his novels, his screenplays, his essays... he is truly a man of letters and as he himself laments, woefully under-appreciated.Unfortunately, this meager and thin offering does nothing in service of cementing his place in the literary life of America; it is poorly narrated, scattered, fragmented, and appallingly unedited (in every sense, including numerous embarrassing spelling gaffes).McMurtry has never been more repetitive (he's not a fan of fellow Archer City residents; prefers Tucson; writes because he worries about money sometimes, etc.--we hear over and over), and his self-proclaimed disdain for copy editing and the details of publication are manifest in this volume.The first volume in his memoir trilogy, "Books" exhibited McMurtry's fascination and interaction with being a professional (and major) used book dealer, and largely succeeded.This volume, which purports to focus on his literary and writing life, accomplishes only a bit of what it touts... Neither gossipy nor detailed, scholarly or entertaining, McMurtry offers instead what seems to be the outline notes for a literary memoir.While this book (or "assemblage" would be a better term) is a huge disappointment, some of the morsels he serves up are tasty.

Let's face it: anytime Larry McMurtry offers an insight, however slight or aesthetic, I will pay attention.His observations of Susan Sontag are loving and discomforting; his remembrance as a two-term president of PEN are only teasing...and how delicious if he was really as droll as he paints himself to have been (and there is every reason to believe he was).He tells us that he considers "Duane's Depressed" his best book, and never expected to write "Rhino Ranch."He's not particularly fond of "Cadillac Jack" but really loves "Boone's Lick" and "Loop Group" (I too enjoyed the latter).While I appreciated knowing these things, I would have been more interested in understanding how he came up with the plots or ideas ("Rhino Ranch" is a great story, and quite original!), or spent more time cogitating over his preference to write in cycles, quartets and quintets, etc.

Now in its second volume, McMurtry's memoir trilogy is some of the most disappointing writing of his career.I hope the final volume, "Hollywood" is a much better book.And again, why are these memoirs being published as three separate, slim volumes?McMurtry deserves better editing, and so do his readers.

1-0 out of 5 stars A huge disappointment
This is a terrible book. If you are looking for information about McMurtry relating to writing ... go to Wikipedia, you are more likely to find it there than from this horse's mouth.

Horse's ass more likely.

I lost count of the number of times he mentioned that he would tell more about (fill in the blank) at a later date. Especially the big Hollywood memoir ...

The only good thing I can say is that I got the book from the library - didn't waste any money on it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Casual approach to McMurtry's "Life" yields hazy results
Author, essayist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry has led a full life -- some of his three dozen novels formed the basis for such classic films as "Hud," "Terms of Endearment" and "The Last Picture Show"; he won an Academy award for scripting "Brokeback Mountain"; and his epic Western "Lonesome Dove" netted him a Pulitzer prize.

He's also a well-traveled book dealer who survived a heart attack that led to quadruple bypass surgery and subsequent months of serious depression.

In fact, he's been so busy he divided his memoirs into three volumes: One about rare book scouting; another recounting his career as a novelist; and a third devoted to working in Hollywood.

So it's a shame "Literary Life," the second and latest installment is kind of a drag.

In a series of short chapters, he tosses out stories and anecdotes like a man pitching cards at an upturned hat -- some go in and some don't.

A number of McMurtry's famous friends drift through the tales, including authors Ken Kesey and Susan Sontag, editor Michael Korda, director Peter Bogdanovich and literary agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar, but they remain, for the most part, ill-defined wisps.

To use a "Lonesome Dove" analogy: "Life" is as laid-back as Gus McCrae but ultimately as dry as Woodrow Call.

The first volume of this series, simply called "Books," is a far better crafted discussion that, unfortunately, focuses on a subject with a muchsmaller range of interest.

Hopefully by the time McMurtry gets around to volume three and his adventures in the screen trade, he will have regained enough wind to give his memoirs the spark and feeling that makes his fiction writing so rich.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rich with Literary Resources
I read and reviewed McMurtry's first memoir, Books: A Memoir, as well as his non-fiction reflection on his various travels on the road, Roads : Driving America's Great Highways.I like both books, and I like this one as well.The problem that I have now is, as I get familiar with McMurtry's writing style, that I find myself less interested in exploring his fiction.There is something about his style that I find a bit too choppy.In reading A Literary life, I often found myself pausing mid-sentence to make sure I caught the train of thought, sometimes needing to reflect on the last clause in the sentence, wondering exactly what in the earlier part of the sentence this clause referred to.Needless to say, this makes for slow and rough reading.Perhaps it's unfair to anticipate negatively McMurtry's fiction based on his memoirs.I suppose his style may work well in fiction, or perhaps his fiction style differs and I will need to dip into his fiction and let that experience be the judge.In any event, I should probably start with Lonesome Dove: A Novel, his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, to test the waters.

In any case, McMurtry has led an interesting life, one well worth documenting.In A Literary Life, he recounts how he came to discover his desire to be a writer, how he produced his fiction and his pride in and attachment to his characters, as well as his relationships with editors and publishing houses.He is very open and shares story that are humbling of both him and other individuals.His humility also comes through as he shares his belief that much of his success has had a good share of luck, particularly in the number of his books that have been turned into movie or TV mini-series.

McMurtry also lists the great influences in his formation as a literary figure, and it is here where I found the book particularly rewarding as McMurtry names writers, critics and editors and gives reasons for why these individuals were influential in his writing career and were or are important literary figures in their own right.From this listing I culled a number of names whose works I now have a strong desire to read - George Lukacs, Peter Lubbock, Stanley Edgar Hyman, Wallace Stegner and James Lees-Milne, to name a few.Ironic, perhaps, that I will plunge next into these authors' works before diving into McMurtry's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Larry McMurtry's Long Drive Sans Cattle
For over 40 years fellow Texan Larry McMurtry has been driving words along the way his dad and uncles pushed cows.

He has created many wonderful novels, a good number of which have been turned into great movies including, Last Picture Show, Hud, Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove.

Lately he has turned his attention to nonfiction, primarily memoirs about the book-collecting business.

His latest, "Literary Life," is a moving but sad reminder that book collectors and book readers seem destined to follow the cowboy into history and legend. ... Read more

7. Sin Killer: A Novel (The Berrybender Narratives)
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 304 Pages (2005-08-02)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743246845
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In Larry McMurtry's Sin Killer, the first novel of a major four-volume work, it is 1830, and the Berrybender family, rich aristocratic English, and fiercely out of place, is on its way up the Missouri River to see the American West as it begins to open up. At the core of the book is daughter Tasmin's relationship with Jim Snow, frontiersman, ferocious Indian fighter, and part-time preacher (known up and down the Missouri as the "Sin Killer"), the strong, handsome, silent Westerner who captures her heart.

Larry McMurtry has created a wonderfully engaging family confronting every bigger-than-life personality of the frontier as the Berrybenders make their way up the great river, surviving attacks, discomfort, savage weather, and natural disaster. At once epic, comic, and as big as the West itself, it is the kind of novel that only Larry McMurtry can write.Amazon.com Review
Larry McMurtry's Sin Killer is a wildly entertaining ride through the untamed Great Plains. The first installment of a proposed tetralogy, The Berrybender Narratives, Sin Killer follows the adventures of the Berrybenders, a large, noble English family traveling the Missouri River in 1832. This deeply self-absorbed and spoiled family leaves England for the unknown of the American West, based solely on a "whim" and Lord Berrybender's desire to "shoot different animals from those he shot at home." The novel joins the family as they make their way toward Yellowstone aboard a luxury steamer, accompanied by a motley assemblage of servants, guides, and natives. Along the way, this "floating Europe" and its bickering, stubborn passengers encounter constant adversity, including warring natives, hellacious weather, accidental deaths, and kidnappings.

Thanks largely to Sin Killer's gallery of colorful personalities, McMurtry keeps most of the action firmly in the realm of fish-out-of-water farce. One such character is the independent and opinionated eldest daughter Tasmin, who, frustrated by her family's conventions, escapes the steamer, whereupon she meets and falls in love with Jim Snow, a.k.a. Sin Killer. Snow, an Indian killer raised by natives, is a stoical, God-fearing man who won't tolerate blasphemy. With prose that flows as naturally as the Missouri, McMurtry weaves together a large cast and vast setting into a thoroughly exciting, hilarious adventure novel. Though Sin Killer focuses on a love story and contains plenty of realistic violence, McMurtry's efficient voice and matter-of-fact perspective leaves little room for tragedy or sentimentality, instead emphasizing high comedy. This is wonderful storytelling from a narrator in perfect agreement with his subject. Sin Killer should please McMurtry's many fans, who now have much to look forward to. --Ross Doll ... Read more

Customer Reviews (124)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I just can not believe these 1 star reviews for this book , and the whole series for that matter.
This was one of the most enjoyable series of books that I have ever read, wildly funny, to terribly sad , and everything in between. I think that these Berrybender novels are among the greatest works ever from Larry McMurtry. I just finished reading them for the second time and I loved them as much as I did the first time around.
I would give them 10 stars if I could.

5-0 out of 5 stars A reflection of yesterday and today...
I was extremely surprised to see such low reviews of this wonderful book.While this book isn't the same as Lonesome Dove or popular McMurtry works, it is still just as exciting and entertaining.I continue to be impressed by his ability to completely reinvent himself with each book I read.Fresh characters with standout personalities and expanding story lines are gently woven together bringing us close to each person and situation.I am very much looking forward to the rest of the series (4 all together) and after reading Sin Killer, you will be too.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sin Killer = Sanity Killer or Insomnia Killer
This book was just plain awful. So awful that I want the time I spent reading it back. I mean can I sue someone for suffering through this awful read? Most likely I cannot not, but I can warn others. So that is what I will do. The book try to accomplish what was done with Lonesome Dove, and that is getting the reader firmly in the grip of a story that is so interesting that they will purchase the succeeding books in the franchise. The Berrybinders left me wishing they were all dead, hell tortured for all the pain they caused me in this book. It was great prose, but even great pose cannot give life to a stillborn story. Avoid this one, and keep a few hours of your life from being wasted.

1-0 out of 5 stars ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
After reading throuugh 2 chapters I gave up on Sin Killers. THe British names are to difficult for me to pronounce. I just could not stay interested in the book. Unfortunately, I purchased the other 2 books in this series as well.

Next time I want to buy a book I'll read the customer reviews. Seems this book has a lot of negative reviews.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sin Killer
I just read Sin Killer and was very disappointed.At times I was tempted to just put it down.I loved Lonesome Dove, both the book and the movie, the book was best, and was really let down with this one.I will read other works by McMurtry though because of the outstanding Lonesome Dove. ... Read more

8. Folly and Glory: A Novel (The Berrybender Narratives)
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 256 Pages (2005-08-02)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743262727
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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As this final volume of The Berrybender Narratives opens, Tasmin and her family are under irksome, though comfortable, arrest in Mexican Santa Fe. Her father, the eccentric Lord Berrybender, is planning to head for Texas with his whole family and his retainers. Tasmin, who would once have followed her husband, Jim Snow, anywhere, is no longer even sure she likes him, or knows where to go to next.

In the meantime, Jim Snow, accompanied by Kit Carson, journeys to New Orleans, where he meets up with a muscular black giant named Juppy in whose company they make their way back to Santa Fe. But even they are unable to prevent the Mexicans from carrying the Berrybender family on a long and terrible journey across the desert to Vera Cruz.

Starving, dying of thirst, and in constant, bloody battle with slavers pursuing them, the Berrybenders finally make their way to civilization, where Jim Snow has to choose between Tasmin and the great American plains, on which he has lived all his life in freedom, and where, after all her adventures, Tasmin must finally decide where her future lies.

With a cast of characters that includes almost every major real-life figure of the West, Folly and Glory is a novel that represents the culmination of a great and unique four-volume saga of the early days of the West; it is one of Larry McMurtry's finest achievements. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars This series just never faultered.
In the final installment of McMurtry's saga of an English family gone astray in unfounded America, we meet our characters all over again and remember what each stood for.As in most of his novels, the stories are strongly character driven and this one is no different.Strong willed, quick tongued, and just plain unique the people in this book had me wanting more, more, and more.
This is a fitting final read in the four part volume and would simply be a waste a time if you haven't read the first three (which I highly suggest you do).Everything comes together and we turn up several morals that may have been over looked throughout the entire series.
One of the, if not the best, series I have ever read.McMurtry just never stops impressing me.

4-0 out of 5 stars folly and glory
very good story, except for the ending which really wasn't an ending, McMurtry really needs to write another book for this "narrative" to finish the story.

3-0 out of 5 stars Necessary, but somewhat expected conclusion
As the concluding book in the Berrybender series, I found this volume to be pretty much as expected and projected in the other books. Once again, the reader gets drawn into the world being portrayed and once again, we learn about the people through their reactions to the events presented. Yet the magnificent story-telling that exists in this book gets overshadowed by the series of tragic circumstances that somehow preempt the energy of the other Berrybender books.

Instead of sharing in the pain (the folly) of the characters, and subsequently rejoicing with the glory, I felt disconnected from Tasmin and the others due to the incessant despair hammered home throughout the book. The hint of charm and pithy but comical inanities disappeared as the story progressed (with the exception of the minor character Juppy who retained the elements of joy and absurdity so often found in the Berrybender family members), leaving the reader empty and dwelling on the flaws and mistakes of people rather than finding their goodness

Yet, aside from the almost hopeless sadness that pervades this story, I hesitate to be too critical since I read the book in one day and could not seem to put it aside. McMurtry's smooth, intelligent prose was again engaging and sparkling, ultimately balancing with the overall depressing subject matter. And there is no question that this final book in the series ended the way it should. While this was not my favorite (By Sorrow's River gets my vote), it certainly was an appropriate conclusion to the series, and a powerful addition to literature of this type.

You will not be disappointed and I urge others to read the entire series. I almost guarantee that any reader will find someone with whom he or she can identify!

5-0 out of 5 stars McMurtry rocks
Once again Larry McMurtry has managed to capture my heart.This series of books is always entertaining, always surprising.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wild Saga
Folly and Glory is part-four of a four-part series chronically the adventures of the aristocratic, English Berrybender family exploring the American West in the 1830's on a steamship on the Missouri River. Lord Berrybender is accompanied by his gluttonous wife and six of his 14 legitimate children. The series is historical fiction in that it incorporates actual people such as Kit Carson and Jim Bridges, yet the tales are so fanciful that history is left in the dust.

Outrageous is the best general characterization of these stories. The adventures and their characters seem larger than life and more colorful than neon. Not for the faint of heart, unexpected, random, senseless and disturbing atrocities, injuries, and deaths litter these tales, with a side of lots of "rutting." The majority of the initial primary characters do not survive to see book four4 of the series.

Yet, the stories grabbed me. I went through the series like popcorn, wanting to see what amazing events would occur to the crazy Berrybenders and their growing entourage. The series is intense, rollercoastering through every facet of human emotion and many aspects of abnormal psychology. Nothing dull in these books. The frequent connections to actual historical persons and events keep the tales interesting and grounded, despite the continuum of bizarre incidents. Not for everyone, but I liked it.
... Read more

by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 544 Pages (1999-01-14)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$4.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684857502
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

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With Texasville, Larry McMurtry returns to the unforgettable Texas town and characters of one of his best-loved books, The Last Picture Show. This is a Texas-sized story brimming with home truths of the heart, and men and women we recognize, believe in, and care about deeply. Set in the post-oil-boom 1980s, Texasville brings us up to date with Duane, who's got an adoring dog, a sassy wife, a twelve-million-dollar debt, and a hot tub by the pool; Jacy, who's finished playing "Jungla" in Italian movies and who's returned to Thalia; and Sonny -- Duane's teenage rival for Jacy's affections -- who owns the car wash, the Kwik-Sackstore, and the video arcade.

One of Larry McMurtry's funniest and most touching contemporary novels. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars very good book
Not the last picture show book, but a good and worthy sequel. I enjoyed the interplay between the women and Duane. I can't wait to read the other books in the sequence. Thanks Larry, I wish I had read this book 23 years ago.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another spoke in a great wheel
This series by Larry McMurtry has to be read through, beginning to end, to be truly appreciated.It begins, of course, with "The Last Picture Show," and includes "Texasville," "Duane's Depressed," and "When the Light Goes."There's no point, really, in reviewing one without reviewing all because the story is incomplete without all the novels aligned.I will say this: I am a professional writer -- a fiction writer -- and my standards for excellent fiction are very high.I liked "The Last Picture Show;" the outrage it caused at the time of its premier seems quaint now, but the story holds up.It is the continuation of the story -- Duane Moore's story -- that builds a real relationship between the reader and the residents of Thalia, Texas.Duane's sense of humor matures, and his trip from teen to grandfather is rocky, filled with loss and laughter, and as vulnerable as that of any real person.That's the magic, isn't it? The ability to create characters and a place so very realistic that they feel like people you might know and streets that you have walked is a special gift, and it's one McMurtry explores fully in this series.Don't miss it.Read 'em all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Texasville
I have read and re-read this book at least 5 times in my life and love every part of it.I love the entire trillogy from Last Picture Show, Texasville, Duanes Depressed and just ordered the other one.This book if funny funny funny!I am from Texas and if you could just take it lightheartedly you'll laugh until your sides hurt.I love the dog Shorty, I want to be Karla, Duane is endearing, love Ruth Popper, feel sad for Sonny, Love Love Love Duane's crazy kids, especially the twins!My life is not like this but kinda crazy like this so I love this book to pieces!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A modern-day Lonesome Dove?
Here's my simple guide to telling the worth of a book. If I'm on the bus on my daily commute and I miss my stop because I'm engrossed in what I'm reading, it's a good book. When I miss my stop several days in a row, it's a great book.

Texasville is a great book! I was more engaged by the characters than I was in The Last Picture Show and I laughed out loud several times while I read it. Texasville is a sequel, but it can be enjoyed without prior knowledge of The Last PIcture Show. I might even suggest that you read Texasville first and then grab a copy of The Last Picture Show to see what that's like.

In some ways the Thalia books are McMurtry's version of Updike's Rabbit novels. But I sure don't recall laughing out loud at Rabbit's trials and I certainly didn't miss any stops while I was reading them.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Eyes Of Texas Are Upon You- Duane
In the blink of an eye it seems we can go from a coming of age story to a mid-life crisis story. Or maybe it is just changing from one book to another. Ya, right? There may be a space of thirty years between the action in The Last Picture Show and Texasville but it hardly a blink of the eye. It takes effort to build up to the mid-life crisis (or better crises) that form the central idea of this novel as those of the generation of '68 and older are painfully aware. But so be it.

The last time we saw the characters who people these novels was Duane getting on the bus in Thalia to go off to basic training in 1954 and ultimately, he thinks, to Korea after a fight with his best friend Sonny over, who else, the flirty local femme fatale Jacy. They are both bewitched by her. The result of that fight was that Sonny lost the sight in one eye. That, however, after a thirty year interval was not the worst of it as a read of this book will confirm. Here, in any case, we have the old gang Duane, Sonny, the sultry Jacy and some new arrivals- Karla, Duane's wife, a slew of kids, a beloved dog Shorty and a cast of a score of locals some who have been resurrected from The Last Picture Show, others who have drifted in with the oil boom that is ready to bust in the 1980's. In any case, for those who are interested, if you read the whole book, you will find out what happened to every character from the Last Picture Show. That is the good part.

The bad part is that this thing is just too long. Duane's, Karla's, Jacy's, and the whole host of 40-somethings who are going through the storms of mid-life crisis stories are not enough to warrant a five hundred plus page book. Hell, this book took longer to read that some mid-life crises, especially Duane's.Even if you add in celebration of a town centennial to `liven' things up the thread is not there.The marital problems and infidelities of small town Texas, the bust up of a man's life work due to the international oil glut and assorted other problems from the 1980's when oil was only about fifteen dollars a barrel pale in comparison with $100 a barrel oil now. Those are `real' problems. That little difficulty of length aside, which keeps this from being a five-star review, McMurtry cannot write a bad novel, at least to these eyes. Larry, just make this kind of story 400 pages or so, you know as long as it would take to tell of your own mid-life crisis. Okay?

... Read more

10. Crazy Horse: A Life (Penguin Lives Biographies)
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 160 Pages (2005-12-27)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$4.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143034804
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Legends cloud the life of Crazy Horse, a seminal figure in American history but an enigma even to his own people in his own day. This superb biography looks back across more than 120 years at the life and death of this great Sioux warrior who became a reluctant leader at the Battle of Little Bighorn. With his uncanny gift for understanding the human psyche, Larry McMurtry animates the character of this remarkable figure, whose betrayal by white representatives of the U.S. government was a tragic turning point in the history of the West. A mythic figure puzzled over by generations of historians, Crazy Horse emerges from McMurtry’s sensitive portrait as the poignant hero of a long-since-vanished epoch.Amazon.com Review
In writing his superb life of Crazy Horse, Larry McMurtryfaced the sameobstacle as every previous biographer of the Oglala Sioux icon: a notablepaucity of facts. This didn't inhibit such chroniclers as Mari Sandoz or Stephen Ambrose(whose dual portrait ofCrazy Horse and George Custer featured a certain amount of authorialventriloquism). In this case, however, the shortage of documentationactually works to the reader's advantage. Unencumbered by reams ofscholarly detail, McMurtry's book has the shapeliness and inevitability ofa fine novella. The author may describe it as an "exercise in assumption,conjecture, and surmise"--but his phrase does scant justice to thiselegant, admirably scrupulous portrait.

As McMurtry recounts, Crazy Horse was born around 1840 in what is now SouthDakota. Already the arrival of white settlers--who brought with them suchmixed blessings as metal tools, firearms, and smallpox--had begun totransform the culture of the Plains Indians. But soon a more ominous notecrept into the relationship: "The Plains Indians were beginning to be seenas mobile impediments; what they stood in the way of was progress, aconcept dear to the American politician." As whites sought to remove theseimpediments with increasing brutality, Crazy Horse led his people in asporadic and ultimately doomed resistance, which peaked at the Battle ofLittle Bighorn in 1876. Within a year the young warrior (and occasionalvisionary) had surrendered to the United States Army. Four months later hewas dead, stabbed in a highly suspicious scuffle with white andIndian policemen, and the Sioux resistance died with its legendaryleader.

McMurtry's powers of compression are formidable. In no more than a fewrapid paragraphs, he gives a sense of how this "prairie Platonist" dividedthe world into transient things and eternal, invisible spirits. He alsoconveys his opinion of Caucasian double-dealing with fine, acerbicefficiency: "In August, Custer emerged and described the beauties of theBlack Hills in mouthwatering terms. In another life he would have made awonderful real-estate developer. In this case he sold one of the mostbeautiful pieces of real estate in the West to a broke, depressed publicwho couldn't wait to get into those hills and start scratching up gold."McMurtry's Crazy Horse is the leanest and least rhetorical versionyet of this American tragedy--which makes it, oddly enough, among the mostmoving. --James Marcus ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Prairie Platonist
Several series of short biographies have been published in recent years, including the American Presidents series and the Great Generals series, to give busy readers the opportunity to learn about famous individuals in brief compass.In 1999, Penguin Press initiated its "Penguin Lives" series with this short biography of Crazy Horse by the American novelist, Larry McMurtry. It was an intruiging and appropriate choice. Crazy Horse's life is the stuff of legend. Just a glance at titles here at Amazon shows how much has been written about Crazy Horse on the basis of what remains a thin historical record. Crazy Horse continues to fascinate many people as shown, among other ways, in the many reviews of McMurtry's title here at Amazon and of other books about the great Oglalla Sioux warrior.

McMurtry uses his gifts as a novelist and his formidable historical knowledge of the American West to give the reader insight into an elusive person. McMurtry's book constitutes an exploration of the literature and legends surrounding Crazy Horse as much as it constitutes a biography of the man.This is unavoidable given the state of the historical record. With McMurtry's attempt to sift through the legends, Crazy Horse still emerges in his account as an extraordinary figure. McMurtry gives a convincing portrayal of an important and difficult man in a book of 140 pages. McMurtry makes as much as he can of a person with a rare way of life whom we do not know. To his own people, Crazy Horse was known as "Our Strange Man".

In McMurtry's account, Crazy Horse (1840 -- 1877) emerges as a loner and a mystic. From his youngest days, Crazy Horse went his own way.He was a visionary, in common with many of the Sioux, but frequently sought his vision in ways outside tribal tradition.McMurtry imaginatively captures a great deal of Crazy Horse in this description of the dreams, wanderings, and spiritual quests which were a feature of his adolescence and adult life:

"It is easy on the plains to imagine things not seen, worlds not known.Crazy Horse, in his wanderings over the summer plains, would have seen many mirages, which perhaps encouraged him in his belief that this world, with its buffalo and horses, is only the shadow of the real world.He was in a way a prairie Platonist, seeing an ideal of which the day's events were only a shadow." (pp. 49-50)

Crazy Horse was a hunter of buffalo and a leader of his people in skirmishes and fights with other Indians. As a young man, he became one of four tribal members honored with the title of "Shirt-Wearer" with the responsibility of looking after the well-being of the people, including the poor.When Crazy Horse ran off briefly with Black Buffalo Woman, the wife of another man, he was almost killed by her jealous husband, No Water, and the Tribe was split apart.The rift was healed by intra-tribal diplomacy, but Crazy Horse lost his title of Shirt-Wearer over the incident.

Crazy Horse is best-known for his role in three battles with the onrushing white settlers, Fetterman's Massacre of 1868, the Battle of Rosebud in 1876, and most famously the Battle of Little Bighorn against Custer on June 25, 1876. These battles established Crazy Horse's fame as a great military leader of his people although his role in each of them, especially Little Big Horn, remains uncertain.

After Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse and a group of 900 Indians, exhausted by cold and pursuit, were forced to turn themselves in at Fort Robinson, Nebraska.Four months later, under circumstances that remain difficult to determine, Crazy Horse was tricked into returning to the Fort under a promise of a meeting with the commanding general.Instead, Crazy Horse was to have been exiled to a prison in Florida. A victim of military treachery and of jealousies among his own people, Crazy Horse was assassinated on September 25, 1876.

Crazy Horse, for McMurtry, was a man who was not an administrator or a negotiator.He did not surrender or try to adjust to the inevitability of a new way of life, as did some of his compatriots. He remained faithful to the life of a warrior on the lonely plains, to the hunt, and to the mystic vision to the end.As in many cases, Crazy Horse became a figure of legend because this is what his life merited. Even when we are cognizant of what we do not know, as McMurtry is, a remarkable and enigmatic figure emerges. From the Indian wars and tragedies of the American west, McMurtry offers an account of a person whose life and goals were inextricably tied to a particular people and whose story yet remains universal and timeless.

Robin Friedman

5-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
Many biographers, when faced with a dearth of reliable information, make up enough to fill the required pages.Mr. McMurtry does not.Writing about Crazy Horse is no easy assignment.He spent little time with whites and with his fellow tribesmen as well.It was almost as if this mystic intended to thwart anyone who tried to pin him like some specimen.

He may or may not have led the Sioux who obliterated Custer's 7th Cavalry.It is not even absolutely certain that Crazy Horse was at the battle of the Little Bighorn.Perhaps the most documented event is the death of Crazy Horse, which was witnessed by many whites and Indians, and yet there are wildly conflicting versions.To add to it all, even his burial site is unknown.

McMurtry well descibes the problems in telling of the subject's life and death.It is easy to see why some readers would be disappointed, because Crazy Horse never quite emerges in this small biography.He remains more myth than man, as perhaps he preferred.That much is clear.

Today a version of this ghostly figure emerges slowly from the mountain near Custer, South Dakota.There are fatter books about the man, but nothing that will compare to the statue, to be the largest in the world.And we don't even have a single photograph of him.

4-0 out of 5 stars How little we know for certain
Larry McMurtry lays out exactly how little is known for certain about Crazy Horse. There are many contradictory reports for just about every major event in his life, and McMurtry points this out, tells you what they were, and then tells you what he thinks, whereas most biographers pick what they believe and then tell the story as if that were the way it was. But I think he gets to some important truths about the man and about the way life was for the Sioux around this time. I was very moved by this small but powerful book about someone I had heard about and read about my entire life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brief, pointed, yet accurate and inspiring
This little book is not intended as an exhaustive study or complete biography of the Sioux warrior Crazy Horse, yet McMurtry succeeds in providing enough detail, wading through historical speculation, and imparting his own views to get a clear picture of Crazy Horse without propagating further falsehoods or myths. McMurtry's concise descriptions of Indian life, government politics, soldiers, and various battles come together to demonstrate how a biography can be effective without unnecessary and often fabricated decoration of facts.

Obviously well-researched and presented objectively, Crazy Horse the man, and the events of his life, are presented without conjecture and without fanfare in a honest, straight forward manner, whetting the reader's appetite for further study of not only Crazy Horse but white man's relationship to the American Indian. Especially refreshing is McMurtry's acknowledgment of the lack of historical scholarship over the details of Crazy Horse's life. As the facts are presented, McMurtry also presents the various accounts, leaving the conclusions to the reader. As opposed to the dogmatic assertions often found in history books, this book freely admits not to know everything, but also keeps the energy alive with factual stories.

McMurtry's humor can't help but shine forth occasionally with various statements such as "...sealing Custer's doom while, incidentally, making an excellent movie role for Errol Flynn and a number of other leading men." His writing style is smooth, informative, descriptive, engaging, and consistent. Overall, this is a fine addition to works on Crazy Horse and an appropriate volume to the biography series from which it comes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good history
Small book packed full of great history.Highly recommended.I wish that McMurtry wrote more non-fiction. ... Read more

11. Dead Man's Walk
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 464 Pages (2000-10-17)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$7.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684857545
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Dead Man's Walk is the first, extraordinary book in the epic Lonesome Dove tetralogy, in which Larry McMurtry breathed new life into the vanished American West and created two of the most memorable heroes in contemporary fiction: Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call.

As young Texas Rangers, Gus and Call have much to learn about survival in a land fraught with perils: not only the blazing heat and raging tornadoes, roiling rivers and merciless Indians but also the deadly whims of soldiers. On their first expeditions--led by incompetent officers and accompanied by the robust, dauntless whore known as the Great Western--they will face death at the hands of the cunning Comanche war chief Buffalo Hump and the silent Apache Gomez. They will be astonished by the Mexican army. And Gus will meet the love of his life.Amazon.com Review
In this prequel to McMurtry's 1986 Pulitzer Prize-winningLonesome Dove,Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call are invincible young bucks, Texas Rangers,full of youthful energy and, quite frankly, full of themselves. Thatis until they're utterly consumed by the vicious battlefield of theearly-19th-century Wild West. Their journey takes them across barrendeserts and raging rivers and through steep and snowy mountains, oftenon foot and with barely enough provisions and clothing to keep themfrom certain death. The constant threat of attack by Comanches keepsthem awake nights, fearing for their lives--and for goodreason. "Buffalo Hump reached down and grabbed the terrified boy byhis long black hair. He yanked his horse to a stop, lifted Zeke Moodyoff his feet, and slashed at his head with a knife, just above theboy's ears. Then he whirled and raced across the front of the huddledRangers, dragging Zeke by the hair. As the horse increased its speed,the scalp tore loose and Zeke fell free. Buffalo Hump had whirledagain, and held aloft the bloody scalp."

This bedraggled group of adventurers--on their foolhardy expedition toseize Santa Fe from the Mexicans (who also prove to be formidableenemies)--includes a salty assortment of cowboys, scouts, fortuneseekers, and a fat and sassy whore nicknamed "The Great Western."McMurtry's adept storytelling paints a portrait of the Wild West thatat times is palpable.One can almost smell the campfires, the bodyodors, and the long-awaited piece of meat after weeks without a propermeal. Dead Man's Walk will satisfy your craving for adventure,without having to put your life on the line. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (91)

1-0 out of 5 stars Outrageously Bad
Wow... worst, most contrived, ridiculous story I've ever read. First 7/8 of the book were just plain silly and unbelievable. How many times does the author try the Gus is afraid of bears contrivance... The last 1/8 was...wow...just plain bizarre. Rescuing an English aristocrat in a leper colony... and then the just plain sick details of Indian torture. I really think the author is sick in the head. Has nothing to do with the real West, real Indians or real history.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Western for people who don't like Westerns
The first Western I've probably ever read (I don't think Little House on the Prairie counts). It was pretty good; I liked the characters. I might read more of the Lonesome Dove series if I come across them.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Story Despite the Writing
I am not a big McMurtry fan because of his writing. He switches POV all the time and I have yet to read one of his books that couldn't have benefited cut about 20,000 words or more.

Even with that Dead Man's Walk is a pretty solid read. It's episodic, like the other Gus and Woodrow novels I've read, full of violence and humor and pathos....these are his trademark and he does it pretty well, right down to the surrealistic ending.This is the book that purports to be the first in the series, even though it was written after Lonesome Dove. That's okay, the book is still fun (for the most part) and if you like the characters from the previous novels you will definitely like them here, too, as they begin their work for the Texas Rangers.

Not the best and not the worst I've read from McMurtry, but still memorable...and in a good way. Check it out.

2-0 out of 5 stars This is not the same person that wrote "Lonesome Dove!"
I finished this book only because I had started it and somehow expected it to improve down the line. After reading "Lonesome Dove" I had expected a read at least approaching that of the original of the series.What a disappointment. The writing is almost amateurish. I do not believe L.M. wrote this book, but he obviously put his name on it.Buy at your own risk!

3-0 out of 5 stars Dead Man's Walk, Reading Man's Hassle
This is the first episode in the lives of Call and Gus. It was intended to tell those who loved Lonesome Doves how the duo met, and what forged their friendship. That was the intent. What happens in this book, though, is that you exposed too much effort to explain things we already know from previously published books. There are just too many attempts to explain things that just popped up in the Lonesome Dove. I mean all that was missing was some attempt to include Laurie's parents. Well written, but very boring and tedious at points. ... Read more

12. Terms of Endearment: A Novel
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 416 Pages (1999-06-04)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$0.10
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Asin: 0684853906
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In this acclaimed novel that inspired the Academy Award-winning motion picture, Larry McMurtry created two unforgettable characters who won the hearts of readers and moviegoers everywhere: Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma.

Aurora is the kind of woman who makes the whole world orbit around her, including a string of devoted suitors. Widowed and overprotective of her daughter, Aurora adapts at her own pace until life sends two enormous challenges her way: Emma's hasty marriage and subsequent battle with cancer. Terms of Endearment is the Oscar-winning story of a memorable mother and her feisty daughter and their struggle to find the courage and humor to live through life's hazards -- and to love each other as never before. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars Aurora Carries this Great Dialogue
As the author of Lonesome Dove and The LAST PICTURE SHOW , the Texas-theme entry into this Houston area novel is typical - little else is for McMurtry.Written predominantly while living in Europe, this book came after intense reading of 19th century classic authors and many references to the soul and intimate relations in this novel compare to the great accomplishments of novelists 100 years earlier.

More feminine than his usual novel, the book's most feminine character is a "woman":Aurora Horton - an extremely strong willed and almost founder-to-the-core feminist, who simultaneously flirts and commands numerous male suitors as her widow's life strangely appeals to her.Her dialogue and constant contrarian comments make her one of literature's great characters.And the strength of her character makes one only conclude he was right when he said ''I think good novelists, or most of them, realize that if you want to learn anything about emotion, you have to talk to women. You won't find out from men.... All through the history of the novel, you know, women have been the emotional articulators. And I've always had very deep women friends -- everything I learned, I learned from women.''

Aurora, for all practical purposes, is the book.She has a venomous tongue and berates everyone who is within listening distance. And, at times such actions are relatively mild when compared to her silent treatment."He waited for her to apologize, but she merely sat looking at him.Her words were bad enough, but her silence was so infuriating he couldn't stand it." If one held their breath while waiting for an Aurora apology, their life could be counted in seconds.

Amid the banter between women are liberating affairs.Often the women are under the sheets more than the men - this book shows Emma to be as bad in monogamy as her husband, while the movie somehow seems to paint a different picture prior to sending her to her pemature death succumbing to cancer. At the time of the book's writing - the 1970's - such things were whispered in privacy, not placed on open pages of best selling novels.

At times, the southern jargon reminds me of works by other southern novelists: William Styron, Walker Percy or Robert Penn Warren. But this is a free spirit who is Stanford attendee - which may deliver some of his passages to Steinbeck-like description. No matter what, this is a great crowd to be among.

5-0 out of 5 stars The dominant mother and the play-along daughter
`"No choice", Aurora muttered, abandoning the field. It was another of her favorite expressions, and also one of her favorite states. As long as she could feel robbed of all choices, then nothing that went wrong could b her fault, and in any case, she had never really enjoyed choosing unless jewels and gowns were involved.'

This is Aurora Greenway, the restless matriarch and protagonist of Larry McMurtry's perennial classic "Terms of Endearment". She is a person who leaves no choice for those around her. She is the one who makes the choices - what makes life a little hard for her bunch of suitors and her grown-up daughter, Emma, whose marriage could be seen as both a escape from her dominant mother and a relationship doomed to fail.

McMurtry, in this novel, is able to create to vivid female characters by displaying more of their actions than their inner thoughts. As the real life of the narrative, Aurora is a dominant presence in the book. Sometimes she seems to threaten to jump from the pages and steal the novel from the author and transform it into something else- what might not necessarily be a bad thing.

As much delineated as Aurora is, as a character, sometimes the lack of a pre-narrative life burdens of her shoulders. Who is she? And more why is she the way she is is a fault in the narrative. Some flashback, or even in a dialogue, some hints could be given of Aurora's past life. Not only would this add dept to the character but nuance to the narrative. "Also, Aurora was easier to like when she was down. The minute her spirit rose she became contrary again." Would glimpses like these into Aurora's psyche be more frequent, "Terms of Endearment" could be a better novel, because they would bring strength to the narrative and humanize the characters.

McMurtry is really good when it comes to delineate people using dialogue, rather than plain prose. If on one hand this brings swing to the narrative, on the other, sometimes this device avoids a deeper look into the inner life of his characters. By the way, his female characters are more developed than the male ones. Aurora, Emma, and their maid, Rosie, are more resembling to human beings than, Aurora's suitors (a general, an oil tycoon, and an Italian), Emma's husband, Flap, and Rosie's, Royce.

Emma is the best person in the novel, but to the reader is denied to learn better about her until the last 50 pages of the novel, when it might be a little bit too late for that. Is she submissive? Is she playing a character to survive her mother's dominance? Or is just she too silly to overcome her mother, husband or friend who are always threatening to steal her life away from her? Never mind. These are questions that shouldn't be answered, since Emma lives a life of submissions however much she would prefer not to.

Despite its obvious flaws, McMurtry's "Terms of Endearment" is still a good read because it is able to capture the lives of his characters in a given moment. There may not be much room for what comes before the narrative begins - despite, what comes later can be imagined - but, still, from the first to the last page, the reader has slices of lives that are worth to follow.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Texas Matriarch and Her Family
This is a novel that will make the reader laugh and cry.It is uproariously funny and poignantly tragic.

It is about a matriarch named Aurora and her family.Aurora feels that her daughter has married beneath her.In fact, that's true.Her husband is an egocentric, self-absorbed professor who cheats on her.Aurora lives next door to an astronaut with whom she flirts.Together, they form a laugh-aloud couple.Aurora can be contemptuous, tender, loving and hateful.

McMurtry gets characters right on and we feel as if we know them from the inside out.Saying too much more about the plot would be spoiling it for the reader.I will say that the plot is very interesting and the character development and movement will make it difficult for any reader to put the book down.It is that riveting.

4-0 out of 5 stars Endearment for 'Terms'
When I first saw Shirley MacLaine as Aurora and Debra Winger as Emma I knew there was more to thair characters then just fun loving and tears. I picked up the novel 'Terms of Endearment' and finished it in two days, it made me laugh, wonder, and cry. The book surpasses the movie by FAR which is remarkable because the movie is fantastic (and has the 1982 Best Picture Oscar). I enjoyed every minute of this delightful and heartmelting book. The friends and characters that come along in the book are hilarious and touching. The General is smooth talking and Rosie and Verne are just as the title, endearing.
Must read this one!

4-0 out of 5 stars Terms od Endearment
When a novel makes the characters "real" and you tell your friends about them (in detail) as if they are people you know and love; then the author is a success.I saw the movie years ago but recently read the novel.The movie was great, the novel superb. ... Read more

13. Hollywood: A Third Memoir
by Larry McMurtry
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2010-08-10)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$11.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439159955
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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"One thing I’ve always liked about Hollywood is its zip, or speed. The whole industry depends to some extent on talent spotting. The hundreds of agents, studio executives, and producers who roam the streets of the city of Los Angeles let very little in the way of talent slip by."

In this final installment of the memoir trilogy that includes Books and Literary Life, Larry McMurtry, "the master of the show-stopping anecdote" (O: The Oprah Magazine) turns his own keenly observing eye to his rollercoaster romance with Hollywood. As both the creator of numerous works successfully adapted by others for film and television (Terms of Endearment, Lonesome Dove, and the Emmy-nominated The Murder of Mary Phagan) and the author of screenplays including The Last Picture Show (with Peter Bogdanovich), Streets of Laredo, and the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain (both with longtime writing partner Diana Ossana), McMurtry has seen all the triumphs and frustrations that Tinseltown has to offer a writer, and he recounts them in a voice unfettered by sentiment and yet tinged with his characteristic wry humor.

Beginning with his sudden entrée into the world of film as the author of Horseman, Pass By—adapted into the Paul Newman–starring Hud in 1963—McMurtry regales readers with anecdotes that find him holding hands with Cybill Shepherd, watching Jennifer Garner’s audition tape, and taking lunch at Chasen’s again and again. McMurtry fans and Hollywood hopefuls alike will find much to cherish in these pages, as McMurtry illuminates life behind the scenes in America’s dream factory. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars "The Last Book"
McMurtry was at his best in the days when he wrote "The Last Picture Show".Maybe this book should have bee titled "The Last Book".I sure got the feeling ,as I forced myself to continue to read to the end,that this may just be the "last book" we'll be getting from a writer who gave us so many good ones.His last several books have left me disappointed;but this one is the greatest disappointment of them all.He created wonderful characters and stories and even went back on several occasions and gave us the continuing story and ending of characters who almost came to be our friends.There was always a sense of sadness and emotions connected with his characters;but he seems to have lost this great gift he used in his novels.The reader always sensed the deep feeling he had about the land and the people he created;but in this bookthe reader got only the sense that McMurtry was tired of it all.At least three times ,he mentioned that he wanted work,"because he needed the money".I got the feeling that was the only reason he wrote this book.If not that,the publisher pressured him for "one more".
I have read all of McMurtry's books I started with "Lonesome Dove" and "Cadallic Jack",my favorite;but if "Hollywood"had been the first one I read;I doubt if I would have ever read more.
All I can say is ,don't let this be your first McMurtry novel to read;it's nothing like his earlier and better work.

4-0 out of 5 stars slight, but fun
The more people know and like McMurtry, the less they seem to like this book. His fans apparently expect a lot more than this slight, casual set of rememberances about screenwriting and Hollywood.

I'm aware of McMurtry, of course, but haven't read his fiction. I picked this up (at the library)and breezed through it in a pleasant few hours. The brevity and simplicity of the prose is indicative of McMurtry's great skill as a writer and his subtle humor makes the short trip even more enjoyable.

A light, but not tossed-off, book of reflections by a charming memoirist.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not a lot of new information
I was really disappointed by this book because I'm a fan of Larry McMurtry's and feel that I have paid for books before that had most of these stories in them, notably "Film Flam."It's not that he's not interesting and there isn't more information here, but I wish I'd checked it out at the library instead of purchasing it because I knew a lot of the stuff about the making of "Hud" and "Last Picture Show" as the author has written about them before.

1-0 out of 5 stars empty package
The book is short but still inflated.There is nothing much there.A disappointment.

3-0 out of 5 stars An unpretentious look at a writer's career in Hollywood
This third installment of memoirs by the brilliant and eclectic author Larry McMurtry is a brief look at his life in Hollywood as a screenwriter and owner of several books made into movies. Somewhat anecdotally, McMurtry traces his early beginnings in Hollywood, following the path of writing, awards, challenges, disappointments and situations up to the present time. Forthright, authentic, and personal writing adorn the pages of this little book providing a glimpse into the maze of Hollywood and its unforgiving theater. Using short chapters (Chapter 26 is my favorite), McMurtry almost randomly gives wings to his failures as well as his fortunes. It makes for light reading with insightful moments, alternating between the amusing and the poignant.

McMurtry's style of non-fiction writing often feels as though he is gathered in the living room telling stories to people sipping coffee. This makes for an almost folksy, yet highly intelligent approach to writing that touches on several levels. Fun stories abound and we learn about the people in his life in Hollywood and are amazed by the myriad of experiences he had in his career. Flirting with glamour, McMurtry also seems to resist the limelight, finding the life in Hollywood to be shallow and silly at times. His admiration for certain stars--Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson to name two is offset by his disappointment in certain producers, writers, and stars (although he does a good job of avoiding direct criticism). It makes for an enriching read for anyone seeking to understand the world of screenwriting and movie making. Many of the events chronicled are stunning--the salary for a screenplay, the complexities of agents, the time spent making a film, and the attitudes toward writers. All refreshing insights for sure.

On a deeper level, we marvel at the skill and talent of a writer whose works have found their place in Hollywood, television, and bookstores throughout the world. A writer of modern fiction, Westerns, history, essays, and screenplays, his achievements are remarkable. In spite of the light reading and brevity of this book, readers should and can be in awe at the marvelous career of Larry McMurtry.

That said, this book is 146 pages of recollections and stories about people and events. While entertaining, it misses the mark on emotional content and we never quite connect to the anguish nor the successes. Almost as though we are taking a tour and hearing about McMurtry's life in Hollywood from a tour guide. We may be curious as to the anxieties, fears, and elations of McMurtry's world of Hollywood, but this book does not satisfy that curiosity. Yet, to be fair, much of his writing style in fiction and non-fiction is presented in a cavalier manner, forcing the reader to find the emotion in the people and in the situations. One of the best lines occurs on page 71, "Best not to professionalize a passion, as lovers the world over have discovered when they marry and notice a cooling."

I enjoyed this book and am glad to have read it (kind of expensive for 146 pages), but of the three, I enjoyed Books the most. In fact, it is intriguing that throughout this book about Hollywood, the love of books continues to shine. In the end, in spite of the tremendous successes McMurtry has had as a writer and a recipient of numerous awards, his true love seems to be books. When you drop a book scout into Hollywood, he is still ultimately a book scout. Recommended for McMurtry fans and anyone interested in the process of screen and script writing.

... Read more

14. Sacagawea's Nickname: Essays on the American West (New York Review Collections)
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 192 Pages (2004-04-30)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590170997
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In this acclaimed collection, Larry McMurtry profiles explorers and martyrs, hucksters and scholars, figures in the West's enduring yet ever-shifting mixture of myth and reality. In these 12 pieces, McMurtry explores John Wesley Powell's journey on the Colorado, the dispossession of the Five Civilized Tribes, the fascination the Zuni held over a parade of unscrupulous anthropologists, and, in the bicentennial of their journey, the journals of Lewis and Clark, "our only really American epic." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, intelligent, and perceptive essays
Referencing history, books, authors, people, and events, Larry McMurtry weaves around facts, myths, and personal insights and forms a collection of essays that both satisfies curiosity and whets the appetite for even more information. Though each essay is unique and deals with one particular subject, taken as a whole, the essays are intentional and supportive of accurate scholarship of the history of the West. Absent of extensive, and often unnecessary biographical detail, yet emphasizing concise and precise presentation of truth, there is something for everyone in this collection.

McMurtry's style of foregoing excessive descriptive detail finds fruition in his non-fiction by giving the reader an excellent sense of goal-direction and purpose. Especially enjoyable were the essays on pulp fiction (unusual in its ruggedly honest appraisal), Lewis and Clark, the Zunis, and the discussion of Sacagawea. Perhaps the finest essay in the book is titled Janet Lewis, a warm tribute honoring an outstanding author, poet, scholar, and person.

At times humorous, other times brutally honest, Sacagawea's Nickname--Essays on the American West is an important addition to the literature on the West. McMurtry's love of books, knowledge, and historical events shines forth throughout each essay, and his ability to write in such a way as to connect the reader to the circumstances without emotional excess is to be admired and commended.

This fine volume receives a strong recommendation for history buffs, Western fans, and anyone fascinated with the literary contributions of Larry McMurtry. As in all his non-fiction works, the writing style is intelligent without pompousness and engaging without shallow entertainment. Definitely worth reading for its perceptions, literary references, and honesty.

5-0 out of 5 stars Splendid Collection
Sacagawea's Nickname is a splendid little volume consisting of twelve essays on the American West authored by Larry McMurtry and previously published in the New York Review of Books. McMurtry arranges each essay around one or more books so that each piece works as both a book review and exploration of the topic at hand.

McMurtry grew up in the West and clearly loves the West. He observes that, "The West, to me, was always a place to look at...." McMurtry has captured the essence of the West in that sentiment. McMurtry is not, however, enthralled by books about the West. He comments that the West produced little fiction of note between Willa Cather's O Pioneers! and Other Tales of the Prairie (New York Public Library Series) and My Antonia (Signet Classics) and the "mature" Wallace Stegner. I must register a dissent at least with regard to the first two books of A.B. Guthrie's Old West trilogy (The Big Sky and The Way West).

Despite his reservations, however, McMurtry provides references to numerous works of and about the West that deserve reading. Two of these books concern "that moment of turning in western history when myth arises out of epic conflict" (Custer's defeat at Little Big Horn): Thomas Berger's Little Big Man and Evan S. Connell Jr.'s Son of the Morning Star: Custer and The Little Bighorn. Other books worthy of note include Patricia Nelson Limerick's The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West, in which Limerick sets herself the task of establishing a new paradigm of the West to replace Frederick Jackson Turner's `frontier thesis' and Angie Debo's Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place (Civilization of the American Indian Series).

My favorite essays were `Inventing the West', which focused on Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley (Sitting Bull's Little Sure Shot), the eponymous `Sacagawea's Nickname', and Old Misery (about the cantankerous Missouri River). McMurtry heaps high praise on the The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 13-Volume Set, if you have the time and money.

Consistent with the attitude expressed in the Introduction, McMurtry reduces Zane Grey's body of work to the size of postage stamp (paraphrasing Heywood Broun) and he did not think much of Stephen May's studies of the prolific Grey. Similar, if less harsh, treatment is given to James Wilson's The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America and others.

The main attraction to this thin volume, however, is McMurtry's own writing. As he has demonstrated in fiction (Lonesome Dove Complete Set (Lovesome Dove / Streets of Laredo / Comanche Moon / Dead Man's Walk) (Lovesome Dove Saga, Vols. 1 - 4)) and nonfiction (The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America (includes 16 pages of B&W photographs)), McMurtry knows how to write. Highest recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WEST
The mistake that most readers will make when picking up SACAGAWEA'S NICKNAME by Larry McMurtry is expecting something identical to LONESOME DOVE, THE BERRYBENDER NARRATIVES or BOONE'S LICK. I suspect that most of the negative responses to this book have come from readers who made this unfortunate, though understandable, error.

Nonetheless, SACAGAWEA'S NICKNAME, a collection of essays by McMurtry, is an essential read for any true McMurtry fan, providing an in-depth look into the mind of arguably the preeminent author of the West. After reading this book you will definitely have a better and clearer handle on where McMurtry is coming from when he applies his encyclopedic abilities to writing the next great western novel.

Essays include evaluations and critiques of western authors and introductions to some that need to be rediscovered, including Angie Debo and, as indicated by the title, stimulating overviews of Lewis and Clark's expedition west and their affinity for and appreciation of Sacagawea.

McMurtry also tackles subjects that mainstream western literature readers may find difficult.Despite the years that have past McMurtry eloquently handles the question of our treatment of Native Americans and asks the continuing and unanswered questions regarding what needs to be done if we are to do the right thing after all.

3-0 out of 5 stars STAY WITH LONESOME DOVE
I love Larry McMurtry's writing for its own sake but found this book to be a little over the top.Instead read any of the four great books from the Lonesome Dove series.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great And Dull At The Same Time
Sacagawea's Nickname purports to be McMurtry's essays on the Old West. Well, yes and no. Maybe half the book is that and it's really good! McMurtry is extremely insightful on this theme. His views on Bill Cody as a businessman, Annie Oakley as America's original liberated woman,Lewis and Clark, western pulp fiction, the Missouri River, Oh and Sacagawea and her various names...all great stuff.But the other half is the author commenting on other author's comments on the West. Dull. ... Read more

15. By Sorrow's River: A Novel (The Berrybender Narratives)
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 368 Pages (2005-08-02)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$2.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743262719
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In this tale of high-spirited and terrifying adventure, set against the background of the West that Larry McMurtry has made his own, By Sorrow's River is an epic in its own right, with an extraordinary young woman as its leading figure.

At the heart of this third volume of his Western saga remains the beautiful and determined Tasmin Berrybender, now married to the "Sin Killer" and mother to their young son, Monty. By Sorrow's River continues the Berrybender party's trail across the endless Great Plains of the West toward Santa Fe, where they intend, those who are lucky enough to survive the journey, to spend the winter. They meet up with a vast array of characters from the history of the West: Kit Carson, the famous scout; Le Partezon, the fearsome Sioux war chief; two aristocratic Frenchmen whose eccentric aim is to cross the Great Plains by hot air balloon; a party of slavers; a band of raiding Pawnee; and many other astonishing characters who prove, once again, that the rolling, grassy plains are not, in fact, nearly as empty of life as they look. Most of what is there is dangerous and hostile, even when faced with Tasmin's remarkable, frosty sangfroid. She is one of the strongest and most interesting of Larry McMurtry's women characters, and is at the center of this powerful and ambitious novel of the West. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars By Sorrow's River
This book is the last of the four part book series by Larry McMurtry, who wrote Lonesome Dove, about the adventures in the old west, of the Berrybender family headed by an old reprobate, Lord Berrybender. He has a large retinue of English servants, along with a keel boat captain, a famous western artist and others. They meet up with famous western heroes, Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, Sacajewea's son and the "Sin Killer" a westerner feared by all Indians. He is the guide who is trying to get the Berrybender's to Santa Fe. In their journey, they come in contact with many Indian tribes both peaceful and very aggresive.

Later, the Berrybenders, in trying to reach New Orleans to go back to England, get involved with the Texas Independence War and Lord Berrybender is killed along all the others at the Alamo.

This series is an excellent history of the old west. The confrontations between the English, the Western mountain men and the Indians is extremely well handled.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gripping scenes and emotionally sensitive
Unlike some of McMurtry's other books, which often present events objectively with a kind of emotional disconnect that makes the reactions of the people seem cavalier, By Sorrow's River reaches an emotional depth that goes beyond the story itself and delves into the psychology of the characters. Indeed, the adventures, the actions, the wilderness, the struggles against nature, against each other, and against normal human desires, all come together to create a book that moves smoothly through the pages at a pace that allows the reader to absorb the joys and fears of the people. Yet, there is a depth within the book that touches deeply and gives the story an artistry and sensitivity not often found in books of this type.

The humor of the people is found in their often absurd but not unrealistic reactions to the various incidents that accompany their travels. At times hilarious, other times tense, we find ourselves identifying with the mountain men, the Indians, and the English people, and in some ways, we desire good things for most of the people we meet. The complex and amatory Tasmin is the center of the story replete with her confusion over who she loves, her role as a mother, and her ambivalence toward her upbringing versus her current situation.

This book did have an ending, an ending that was projected in different ways throughout the story, but, nevertheless an ending that leaves the reader both broken and reflective. In a strange way, the emotional impact of By Sorrow's River is strong and not easily dismissed. Aside, from his almost maddening lack of thorough description of who these people are, and his tendency to make us understand them through their reactions rather than knowing ahead of time, I found this to be one of McMurtry's stronger works of fiction and characterization. A thoroughly enjoyable and gripping read.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wild Saga - Part 3
By Sorrow's River is part three of a four-part series chronically the adventures of the aristocratic, English Berrybender family exploring the American West in the 1830's on a steamship on the Missouri River. Lord Berrybender is accompanied by his gluttonous wife and six of his 14 legitimate children. The series is historical fiction in that it incorporates actual people such as Kit Carson and Jim Bridges, yet the tales are so fanciful that history is left in the dust.

Outrageous is the best general characterization of these stories. The adventures and their characters seem larger than life and more colorful than neon. Not for the faint of heart, unexpected, random, senseless and disturbing atrocities, injuries, and deaths litter these tales, with a side of lots of "rutting." The majority of the initial primary characters do not survive to see book four4 of the series.

Yet, the stories grabbed me. I went through the series like popcorn, wanting to see what amazing events would occur to the crazy Berrybenders and their growing entourage. The series is intense, rollercoastering through every facet of human emotion and many aspects of abnormal psychology. Nothing dull in these books. The frequent connections to actual historical persons and events keep the tales interesting and grounded, despite the continuum of bizarre incidents. Not for everyone, but I liked it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the Strongest in the Series
Although much fun to read, as were the first two books in the Berrybender Narratives, "By Sorrow's River" is the weakest link. Maybe because there is less action and more introspection, namely, willful, beautiful and impossible Tasmin Berrybender's increasinbly deep infatuation with Pomp Charbonneau, who seems indifferent to her considerable charms.

As we know from previous books, Tasmin impetuously married mountain man Jimmy Snow, "The Sin Killer," much feared by the Indians. Although he satisfies her on a very primal level and has already fathered a son by her, Jimmy is taciturn to the point of obsession, while Tasmin never shuts up. Jimmy is an unschooled frontiersman, while Tasmin is a cultured and spoiled upper-class Englishwoman. We know all this...it's old news. So why is it so annoying when she sets her sights and considerable will upon cultured and quiet Charbonneau? Maybe it's because he really doesn't want her, even up to and including her rash seduction, where she has to do just about everything herself (McMurtry is hilarious in this description, as he always is in this series). Or maybe she has become as tiresome to us as she has to most people around her.

At any rate, there are still plenty of gory deaths, outrageous selfish acts by Lord Berrybender, some unexpected weddings and couplings, and a new influx of Mexican characters who people a thriving trading post.

Still fun to read, but not the strongest in the series. Looking foward to "Folly and Glory," the next of the Narratives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Addicted to an odd series
I was hooked on the Berrybender series because of the hysterical humor in Sin Killer, so I bought the other three books in the series.I'm reading the series as one long book, and I see no other way to read it.It is, after all, just one continuous story about the same characters on the same journey.It is as continuous as Lord of the Rings or Remembrance of Things Past, both of which were published as a series of separate books.In this regard it isn't like the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey, because the three books in that series can each stand alone and involve completely separate adventures, though with the same characters.

This, the third book in the four-book series, is not funny at all.Okay.I got hooked on the humor, and it's gone.But I'm still hooked on the characters, and in particular Tasmin Berrybender.Her stupid father I can do without.Her sisters play diminishing roles as the story unfolds.Her husband Jim Snow, Sin Killer, also has a diminishing role in this book.Pomp Charboneau is elevated to stardom, though he is a boring star, a man who doesn't really want to be alive, a man who will avoid Tasmin's advances almost all the time, but will submit passively to them when cornered.He's not much of a character.

One surprise star in this third book is Clam De Paty, the French journalist with the garish red pants.He has an adventure or two.Then there's a pair of lively and wealthy Mexican girls who are pretty interesting, and one is in love with young Kit Carson, one of Tasmin's conquests.

The terrifying Partezon becomes very human, and we are told what makes him tick.History proved him right.No wonder he was killing off all those white men.That was the Indians' only chance, and he was the only Indian in this book who knew it.But he peters out.So does Lord Berrybender.Sometimes McMurtry's characters just peter out.

In Lord Berrybender's case, he doesn't seem like the same man who was introduced to us in Sin Killer.I don't recognize him in this book.Perhaps "continuity of character" isn't McMurtry's strongest suit in this series.He makes things happen to his characters, and the characters don't seem to be who they started out as.I suspect it is a weakness in the writing, but nobody's perfect.This series is tremendous.

Pomp is a disturbing character.Why is he avoiding Tasmin?We kind of think it is because she's married to his buddy.But if that is the case, why is he having sex with her?I don't get Pomp.I think he's being painted as a broken man, broken by his removal to Europe after growing up in the American frontier.If that is the whole Pomp story, that he is an illustration of a man who was broken by civilization, then I think it is a poor choice on the author's part.I don't think people break like that.I don't think that they become apathetic vegetables because of that.It's a weakness of the story.Yay wilderness, boo civilization.Whatever.I don't buy it.

This author is far more cold blooded than most.He constantly kills off his main characters.It reminds me of Dungeons and Dragons, where you can be playing with a character for months, and then he's dead, and that's that.The mortality rate on this Berrybender excursion is just a little higher than the mortality rate among terminal AIDS patients too weak to stand.

The mortality rate forces this to be a comedy, because nobody in his right mind would continue this journey, as Berrybender does, for sport, after all of this tragedy.This has to be a comedy because one of Berrybender's children disappeared, died, and was never remarked again, like the child was nothing.That happened in an earlier book.Remember, he had brought two of his "numbered" children with him, one was found as a silent stowaway, and the other was never heard from again.This has to be a comedy, no?Why else would nobody in the family give a damn that baby sibling is missing, abandoned, and dead?

This series walks a very queer line between comedy and adventure.But when a series has me, it has me. ... Read more

16. The Late Child : A Novel
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 480 Pages (2002-03-05)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743222547
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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An unforgettable addition to his widely acclaimed body of work, The Late Child is Larry McMurtry's tender, funny, and poignant sequel to The Desert Rose. McMurtry delivers another rich cast of characters -- and a heartfelt, bittersweet story that unfolds on the open road, in one woman's search for strength, understanding, and hope.

Harmony is the optimistic, resilient Las Vegas ex-showgirl who returns home one day to the news that her beloved daughter has died, in New York, of AIDS. She manages to stay afloat, buoyed by her precocious five-year-old son, Eddie, and her two outspoken sisters as they set forth on a journey across the country, seeking answers about her daughter's death. From Nevada to New York to Oklahoma, the eccentrics Harmony and her entourage meet nudge them closer to an inner peace with life, and a way to find hope in the future. Alive with inventive storytelling and honest emotion, The Late Child is a warm, enriching experience that celebrates the unique relationship between mother and child. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
"Desert Rose" is one of my favorite books and I really loved the device of having a chapter from Harmony's voice and then a chapter from Pepper.I was happy to find a sequel and couldn't wait to read it.What a disappointment!I got through about a fifth of the book and stopped.Just got tired of Harmony and the cast of characters, as well as their adventures.The kid, Eddie, was particularly annoying.

4-0 out of 5 stars Strong story-telling, but weak ending
While the premise of the story, the death of an older child, is certainly sad and the typical McMurtry style of exploiting people's character flaws could lead to a book of emotional anguish and despair, somehow The Late Child, instead, is light, humorous, and oddly uplifting in its overall presentation. A precocious 5 year old boy continually interjects a positive spin and an indomitable optimism that is contagious to the characters in the story as well as the reader. Like many of McMurtry's stories, The Late Child provides a look at a slice of life through the journey of a family and friends. Using hilarious situations, comical personalities, and human complexity, McMurtry demonstrates the poor judgment of people and the consequences of those decisions. But unlike some of his darker books, The Late Child leaves the reader with a sense of hope and improvement.

I was entranced with the beginning, the development, and the travels through New York City. But I was disappointed with the arrival of the people in Oklahoma and the events of the ending. I felt that the focus moved away from the boy and to the problems of the adults. This caused the story to fizzle and to emphasize the minor characters too much and took away some of the power of journey.

Still, aside from the problems of the ending, a very enjoyable read that ranks among his finer books in my estimation.

3-0 out of 5 stars So-so
This is a sequel to DESERT ROSE. Harmony's daughter Pepper has just died of AIDS in NYC, and she (Harmony) and her 5-year-old son Eddie drive cross country from Las Vegas to retrieve her. Typically off-the-wall McMurtrian adventures occur - all their belongings go over a cliff at the Grand Canyon, Eddie gets to meet Pres. Clinton and also get on the Letterman show because of his dog, they befriend people who live in a dumpster. But the characters are just strange and out of touch and hard for us to relate to. Children are not usually portrayed very well by McMurtry, and Eddie is no exception: he acts and talks like an old man, which becomes unbelievable and very annoying after a while. There are contrivances in all of McMurtry's books, but they are too heavy-handed here. Not one of his better novels.

3-0 out of 5 stars better than I expected
As far as McMurtry sequels go, I'd rank this novel beneath "Texasville," "The Evening Star," and "Streets of Laredo," but ahead of most of the others.It exhibits McMurtry's excellent command of the English language; his voice, particularly in writing dialogue, is a compelling one.The reason I don't rate this book a bit higher is that it is almost totally plotless, and by the end seems sort of pointless.The idea is to show Harmony learning to make her own way in life, and more than that, learning that that is the right decision to make.But to me, that theme only becomes evident late in the novel, and the fact that it is Pepper's death that brings this process about for Harmony weakens her as a character, rather than strengthening her.That may only be my resentment of McMurtry's killing off Pepper, who in "The Desert Rose" was a particularly vivid character.He's sort of had the tendency in the later part of his career to kill of characters I like for no particularly good reason -- Newt Dobbs, anyone? -- so I've got to dock him a couple of points for that.Still, if you are a McMurtry fan, I recommend this novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars "We choose our lovers by their flaws"...
The best way to read this sequel is immediately after reading its prequel;"The Desert Rose".The surprising thing is that McMurtry wrote "The Desert Rose" in 1983 and "The Late Child " didn't come out till 1995. That's a long wait!
Again, this story continued along the same path.Even more so, the thought processes of the characters reminded me of the characters in many of Erskine Caldwell's novels;the most well known being "Tobacco Road" and "God's Little Acre".
McMurtry's immagination never seems to slow down and you are presented with one wild thing after another,with each turn of a page. The chapters are very short,many only a couple of pages;but he puts more in one of those short chapters than most writers put in 30 or 40 page chapters.
This book has a plethora of great lines;for example:
"Your standards are the standards of a doormat."
"Dick don't have enough imagination to get lonely."
"Rog don't have a speed-neutral ain't a speed."
"That's how I feel,I just don't know how to live."
"Stuck in the driver's seat and the car was moving,
but she had no map and no idea of where she was supposed
to go."
"The fact is,it's a living death,and I've lived as long as
I can."
"It ain't hard to die when you've already stopped living."
This has been a great read,and I hope Larry is working on a trilogy;Lord knows he has created enough characters who would be fun to follow.However,please don't make us wait another 12 years. ... Read more

17. The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America (includes 16 pages of B&W photographs)
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 245 Pages (2006-05-30)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743271726
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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From the early 1800s to the end of his life in 1917, Buffalo Bill Cody was as famous as anyone could be. Annie Oakley was his most celebrated protégée, the 'slip of a girl' from Ohio who could (and did) outshoot anybody to become the most celebrated star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

In this sweeping dual biography, Larry McMurtry explores the lives, the legends and above all the truth about two larger-than-life American figures. With his Wild West show, Buffalo Bill helped invent the image of the West that still exists today -- cowboys and Indians, rodeo, rough rides, sheriffs and outlaws, trick shooting, Stetsons, and buckskin. The short, slight Annie Oakley -- born Phoebe Ann Moses -- spent sixteen years with Buffalo Bill's Wild West, where she entertained Queen Victoria, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and Kaiser Wilhelm II, among others. Beloved by all who knew her, including Hunkpapa leader, Sitting Bull, Oakley became a legend in her own right and after her death, achieved a new lease of fame in Irving Berlin's musical Annie, Get Your Gun.

To each other, they were always 'Missie' and 'Colonel'. To the rest of the world, they were cultural icons, setting the path for all that followed. Larry McMurtry -- a writer who understands the West better than any other -- recreates their astonishing careers and curious friendship in a fascinating history that reads like the very best of his fiction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative and amusing
It was with interest and curiosity that I sat down to read this book only to discover it was not what I expected, yet once I deciphered the overriding thesis and purpose, I found it to be an enjoyable, and somewhat casual read. Without trying to write a biography or even a precise chronological historical narrative, McMurtry has created a book providing insights into one of the first great entertainment industries of our country. The book reads well in typical McMurtry fashion and captivates the time period, drawing the reader into the world of the Wild West and the myths surrounding it.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the shows, the people, the complexity of the marketing systems, and mostly Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. As McMurtry continually reminds us, truth in history is rarely as exciting as creative fabrication of the same events. And Buffalo Bill certainly knew how to make those events serve the greater entertainment purpose--to make money! The book also serves as a reminder that most of what we experience now--movies, shows, concerts, even sports events--had a beginning and that beginning was not always easy. Today we benefit and reap what began long ago as Buffalo Bill began the frontier of entertainment and exploitation of the Cowboy myth.

But as I was reading I felt confused by the events, the stories, and the asides that tried to describe the actual people. I think the book could have been reorganized and been a tighter more meaningful and pointed look at the industry. I also felt a little disappointed in the lack of thorough descriptions of the places where the shows took place, wanting to know more about the territory that existed prior to the event. As the book concluded, I felt more knowledgeable about Buffalo Bill but less so about Annie Oakley since she was not given as much time.

This was an excellent book that could have been better with more thought put into its organization. I still enjoyed it and have great respect for its premise of demonstrating the rise of the entertainment industry through the Wild West Show. Smooth writing, excellent scholarship, and mostly funny stories abound, making this a fine addition to the literature on Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley.

2-0 out of 5 stars I read the whole thing...
...but only out of morbid curiosity to see if it got any better.It didn't.The chapters are too short to get into any real depth and the style struck me as scatterbrained.References were repeatedly made to people and events that were never really covered.Things that seemed to be important (death of Sitting Bull) were flown past, and McMurtry seemed to dwell on details that can't be known (reasons for divorce attempt in 1905).Lots of Bill and not so much Annie, like a few other reviewers said.It may be okay if you're looking for a eulogy on Buffalo Bill, but if you want an actual biography - especially on Annie Oakley - I'd look elsewhere.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Echoing some of the other reviews - it's 'thin', disorganized and has a large Bill:Annie ratio. McMurtry's point is that, per the title, BB & AO were among the 1st superstars in America & he repeats it every other chapter or so. It reads like something that was whipped up over a weekend. The style & depth of the book are intentional on McMurtry's part but readers should be forewarned that this isn't a traditional biography.

3-0 out of 5 stars Is this all?
This slender volume conveys the slightest amount of information about its subject in a confused, repetitive, meandering style. Surely there is more to the story than this.

5-0 out of 5 stars True McMurtry Work
This book is presented in true McMurtry style showing careful research, painstaking attention to facts vs. fiction, identifying what could be fictional about the people being discussed, and the wonderful McMurtry style we all expect with each publication. Having visited Buffalo Bill's gravesite and the small museum there, this book rounds out the images I have of the man, the performer, and the first superstar of North America. ... Read more

18. Some Can Whistle
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 304 Pages (2002-10-29)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003A02Q40
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"Mr. Deck, are you my stinkin' Daddy?" In a furious phone call from T.R., the daughter he's never met, Danny Deck gets the jolt of his life. A TV writer who's retired to his Texas mansion, Danny spends his days talking to the answering machines of his ex-lovers from New York to Paris and dreaming of the characters in the sitcom he's created. But suddenly, a hurricane called T.R. is storming into his life...

In his most moving and richly comic contemporary novel since Texasville, Larry McMurtry returns to the modern West he created so masterfully in The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment. Some Can Whistle spins a tale of Hollywood glitz and Texas grit; of an extraordinary young woman and a murderous young man; and of a middle-aged millionaire running head-on into the longings, joys, and pathos of real life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars A moving, bittersweet story for everyone
My personal journey to read all McMurtry books is nearing an end with only a few left to go. As in most McMurtry stories, my travels through his books have taken me many great places along with a few places I did not prefer. Yet, each book has a poignancy and sensitivity that is moving and emotionally satisfying. Some Can Whistle is typical of McMurtry's style but in many ways is atypical in its specificity and complexity of emotions.

Successful writer of books and screenplays, Danny Deck is back again as a middle-aged man living a life of leisure with some quirky people he picked up along the way. Without much purpose or reason to live, Danny chooses to remain holed up in his mansion, surrounded by books and memories of his past. Yet suddenly his daughter he had not seen since infancy calls him. He sets out to find her and bring her back with him. Not counting on including her friends and family, he ends up with several more people in his household.

His daughter, her two children, her boyfriend, and a couple of others converge on his home, his life and turn it upside down. In the process are several hilarious situations including dancing, swimming, water parks, explosions, and various accidents. The aside stories in the middle of this fine book are full of the vibrancy, temerity, and fun of youth. In spite of the sheer enjoyment of the life of Danny's daughter, there reigns a darkness and fear of her old boyfriend who is set to get out of prison.

As Danny realizes the joy of life that is found in his daughter and his grandchildren, he also recognizes in himself the depression that has infected his core. Rising out of his funk and into the world of his vivacious daughter, he works to regain the human qualities of joy that pervade those who live life to its fullest. Unfortunately the subsequent events test his new philosophy and Danny is forced to overcome his greatest challenge.

Excellent prose, shimmering energy, and warm descriptions of people give this book a shining glow that draws the reader into the events. The journey is one of human courage, fortitude, tolerance, and love. There is something for everyone in this marvelous book, a book that is not easily forgotten and a book in which naturalism gives way to self-examination.

The light and dark of the story makes for an unusual emotional response, and readers will find themselves altering in their opinions of the book. Yet somehow, in spite of the darkness, Some Can Whistle, shines forth as a powerful statement of life and death. Highly recommended for fans of McMurtry and for people seeking purpose in life.

3-0 out of 5 stars Some Can Whistle, Some Can't
In the recent past I have done reviews of many of writer/bibliophile and flea marketer Larry McMurtry novels centered on Texas life, past and present. I have effusively praised his "Last Picture Show" trilogy (actually there is a forth novel in that series about the trials and tribulations of oilman Duane Moore but I don't, for good reason, count the last one. Larry just ran out of steam on that one). I have also raved about little individual gems like "Cadillac Jack". Not so "Some Can Whistle", a 1989 effort and for much the same reason that I panned his very early effort dealing with the life, such as it is, of then wannabe writer Danny Deckin "All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers". Unlike Duane (or Jack) there is very little to empathize with in Danny's inner creative struggles and his longings for love and stability.

Moreover, unlike the earlier Deck effort where the plotline was plausible, if predictable, this one really stretches the limits of McMurtry's version of "magical realism". To give nothing away, the plot centers on old, now supremely successful, television script writer Danny's long sporadic but continuing search for his daughter, T.R., who have been kept from his by fair means or foul. That theme continues helter-skelter as he "finds" her, her two very young children and an assortment of lovers and hangers-on in good old Houston. The tension of the novel revolves around Danny's anxieties as new- found parent (and grandparent), his overweening desire to please and also to come to grips with his daughter's checkered past (and present). Add to that mix Deck's own long simmering problems seriously relating to women, his increasing reclusiveness and his constant need for emotional self-restraint. Just writing this capsule summary points out the problem with the novel. This material has been worked many times before, and with better results by Mr.McMurtry. Give me Duane any day.

3-0 out of 5 stars McMurtry knows how to write...
...but unfortunately he doesn't always know what to with the plot. This is a very well-written and entertaining book, but the protagonist goes from beginning to end letting things happen to him rather than actually living his life in an active manner.McMurtry uses a particular literary device (which you'll understand if you read the book) to shock him, but unlike the defibrillators used to shock heart patients, he still lives his life in a more or less brain dead manner.McMurtry has used this same literary device in other novels, and it starts looking like his default choice when he doesn't know what else to do with his characters.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre.
I loved Texasville, and couldn't finish Terms of Endearment.Unfortunately, "Some Can Whistle" is closer to Terms of Endearment, although I can take the main character, Danny Deck, more seriously.He is the former writer/producer of a number one rated TV series, who has become depressed, anddoesn't do much on an isolated estate.The 21 year old daughter he has never seen contacts him, and sets the plot in motion, while awakening him from his depression.In some ways she is his antithesis: vital, joyful, impulsive. The book revels in eccentricities, but I didn't find it very amusing.It does make some interesting explorations of the nature of love and friendship between man and woman (parental love for children is unconditional in the novel).I found the main character interesting at times, and enjoyed the daughter.The book's ending was moving.

4-0 out of 5 stars Consider the turns life takes
I love this book.Danny Deck's journey from a self-involved recluse to the walking wounded is both funny and tragic.Just as in real life, Danny's life changes forever in the course of a phone call. T. R. and the cast of characters that draw Danny back into the land of the living for an all too brief time are unforgetable.I sometimes find myself thinking of this story, partly because something similar happened to me.But I also think of this story when I realize yet again that life short and can turn on a dime.Danny's story is universal, although few of us a gazillioniares.Love, loss and the journey not taken is something everyone, in one way or another, can relate to.This book will make you think. ... Read more

19. Film Flam : Essays on Hollywood
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 224 Pages (2001-09-11)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$0.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743216245
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A noted screenwriter himself, Pulitzer Prize-winner Larry McMurtry knows his Hollywood. In Film Flam, he takes a funny, original, and penetrating look at the movie industry and gives us the truth about the moguls, fads, flops, and box-office hits.

With successful movies and television miniseries made from several of his novels -- Terms of Endearment, The Last Picture Show, Lonesome Dove, and Hud -- McMurtry writes with an outsider's irony of the industry and an insider's experience. In these essays he illuminates the plight of the screenwriter, cuts a clean, often hilarious path through the excesses of film reviewing, and takes on some of the worst trends in the industry: the decline of the Western, the disappearance of love in the movies, and the quality of the stars themselves.

From his recollections of the day Hollywood entered McMurtry's own life as he ate meat loaf in Fort Worth to the pleasures he found in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Film Flam is one of the best books ever written about Hollywood. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good essays but not what I expected
It is difficult to review a book that is actually a collection of essays of different types, each with a unique but loosely connected subject matter and purpose (although one might argue that the disparity itself demonstrates a lack of congruity and goal-direction). Yet, taken as a whole Film-Flam does have as its unifying them or centrality a general negativity toward Hollywood and the film industry in general. I have mentioned before that in many ways I prefer McMurtry's non-fiction over fiction, with its definite opinions and truthfulness about people. Film Flam, unlike McMurty's other books, has a depth of thought, morality, and an unusually complex vocabulary that makes it a more challenging read than expected.

I especially enjoyed the essays on books turned into movies, and I think I enjoyed (the verdict may still be out on this) the essay on his weekend at the movies at Times Square. Especially intriguing were the erudite moments of philosophy on art and truth and the sad, but also rather humorous descriptions of the banal activities found in Hollywood. Ironically, McMurtry remains fairly self-critical of his own books, a humility not often found among popular writers, and somewhat pragmatic about his own place in the literary world. These elements jump out pretty regularly in Film Flam, making it a kind of brutal and honest diatribe of movies and people's reactions to them.

What I am wrestling with is why I didn't really enjoy this book that much? What should and could have been an opportunity to reveal secrets of the film industry, and a hard, edgy realistic look at exploitation of writers, actors, producers, and audience members seemed to be simply a series of McMurtry opinions that while fascinating in their own right, have a quality of disconnect without profundity.

Still, in spite of its disappointments, it is worth reading and rather fun in a dark, cynical way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Film Flam - Excellent Value
Very pleased with purchase. Many thanks and hope to do business with you again in the future.
Derek Wilkinson
... Read more

20. Moving On: A Novel
by Larry McMurtry
Paperback: 800 Pages (1999-06-04)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684853884
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Moving On is a big, powerful novel about men and women in the American West. Set in the 1960s against the backdrop of the honky-tonk glamour of the rodeo and the desperation of suburban Houston, it is the story of the restless and lovable Patsy Carpenter, one of Larry McMurtry's most unforgettable characters.

Patsy -- young, beautiful, with a sharp tongue and an irresistible charm -- and her shiftless husband, Jim, are adrift in the West. Patsy moves through affairs of the heart like small towns -- there's Pete, the rodeo clown, and Hank, the graduate student, and others -- always in search of the life that seems ever receding around the next bend.

Peopled with a riotously colorful cast of highbrows, cowpokes, and rodeo queens, in its wry humor, tenderness, and epic panorama, Moving On is a celebration of our land by one of America's best-loved authors. Moving On is vintage McMurtry. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars As self-absorbed as a wet sponge--moving backwards!
As has already been noted in the previous reviews, this novel takes place back in the sixties and was published in 1970--vintage Texan of my own generation in graduate school.That being said, I have to disagree with those critics who consider Patsy a lovable character.I consider her a boring frosted flake, a compulsive talker, somewhat of a histrionic personality, and completely self-absorbed.And to make a bad situation worse, she's married to a cold young man who is simply incapable of giving her the attention she is so desperately needy for, and the harder she tries, the more he withdraws.Enough already!

Fortunately, in subsequent novels (Terms of Endearment and The Evening Star), Patsy grows up a great deal and becomes a helpful friend and family member to many, and a mature and more fully developed human being.Good for her.But based on this first novel about Patsy, I wouldn't want to know her.She's a total turn-off!

Speaking as a fan of Larry McMurtry, this novel is certainly worth reading, but the title should, IMO, be changed from "Moving On" to "Stalled in Selfhood".

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth the long read!
Yes this book is very long, and yes it is worth the read.McMurtry is a wonderful author, he has a way of putting the reader into another life, the descriptions, and characters are so vivid that you forget that you are reading a book.

The characters are very memorable, its been almost 6 months since my reading, but still today all of the characters are still etched in my mind.After finishing the book I felt, and still feel that they are my friends.

The dialog is first class.

If you haven't tried McMurtry I wouldn't hesitate.I will definitely be reading all of LM's work.

Also, if you are in the mood for some wonderful Alternative Country music, check out Larry McMurtry's son James McMurtry.Lets just say the talent runs in the family.

Happy reading, and listening!

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving On!
This is the best Larry McMurtry book.Don't be fooled by imitations!(So many of his new books pale in the shadow of his earlier works.)Try this wonderful novel.You'll be haunted by it long after you have finished it.

4-0 out of 5 stars In the mood. . .
This is an early McMurtry novel, a long, rambling story with young Patsy Carpenter at the center of a large cast of characters that includes graduate students, ranchers, rodeo cowboys, a Hollywood writer, Haight-Ashbury hippies, and wealthy Texans - both new and old money. Written in the late 1960s, and published in 1970, "Moving On" is interesting for its attempt to capture the subtly shifting moods of its central characters instead of focusing on action and storyline. As page follows page, McMurtry describes his characters' feelings of self-assurance, annoyance, boredom, frustration, and sexual tension. And often moods degenerate into tears - Patsy's in particular.

There's more than a bit of Henry Miller in much of the novel, as characters attempt to match up their levels of sexual passion, often finding that they are rarely feeling the same thing for each other at the same time. Seduction is often unsuccessful or unsatisfying, a rendezvous full of romantic promise may turn into an argument leaving both parties exhausted. A pass made after several drinks at a party or over a milk shake at a soda fountain may elicit an exchange of bitterness and barbed recriminations. A married couple talks openly of their infidelities. A wife accuses her husband of being neglectful, while she routinely meets a colleague of his for sex.

For readers who like action and narrative development, this book will seem very slow going. For some, the many shifts of mood and ironies of thwarted intentions will make the story seem flat and the central characters unfocused. By contrast, the marginal characters, especially an old widowed rancher, a rodeo clown and his young barrel-racer girlfriend, and a teenage bronc rider spring from the page fully realized. A few scenes are pumped up with melodrama (a professor's wife breaks down in front of the girl her husband has tried to seduce; a champion rodeo cowboy refuses to accept that a ranch-owning woman he's been bedding is growing tired of him; a pregnant young woman is rescued from a drugged existence with a sinister boyfriend). But the most crisply vivid and emotionally honest scenes involve the death and burial of an old man in the nearly treeless prairie northwest of Dallas. They're simple and understated like the country folks who people these pages.

McMurtry says that this novel emerged from an image of a young woman in a car eating a melted chocolate bar. What follows that image is one thing after another, until we reach the end almost 800 pages later, and that same woman, now divorcing her husband, feels a kind of independence that may never surrender itself to another man. Some readers will find this ending worth the trip; others may find themselves, like McMurtry's characters, in a somewhat different mood.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Grand Achievement
I am in the process of rereading Moving On and just checked Amazon for other readers' comments, which I found intriguing.I originally bought this book for two reasons: 1.)I'm a Larry McMurtry fan and 2.) I was interested in the rodeo aspects of the book.I was initially disappointed when Jim and Patsy left the rodeo circuit for the "desperation of suburban Houston," but I finished the book anyway.When I picked it up again recently, I intended only to reread the rodeo-related passages, and now (deep into the Houston section)I find I can't stop reading.McMurtry's creation of Patsy Carpenter is a grand achievement.Her endless crying aside, she is one of the most completely realized characters in contemporary literature.I can't think of any other novel that chronicles with such convincing precision the moment by moment emotional life of a single character. There are times, certainly, when I find her annoying, but she is also endlessly compelling.The other characters (Pete, Eleanor, Sonny)are a great added treat in the novel, but it is ultimately Patsy who impresses, and it is for the creation of her that we should consider Moving On one of McMurtry's best works.(P.S. to the earlier reviewer who gave the book a "lone star," what you say about the Waggoner ranch is very true.The descriptions are so beautiful that you want to move there (but then it functions as a kind of oasis in the book), and Roger is a touching character whose simple language belies great depth. McMurtry has created him with great affection.) ... Read more

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