Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Essential Larry McMurtry

Larry McMurtry has made a career writing novels featuring eccentric characters who don't really know what they want. I like his characters, but they are pretty mysterious to me. In particular, the women he writes about are like no women I know.

I really enjoyed his early novels, such as All My Friends are Going to Be Strangers and The Last Picture Show, but haven't enjoyed much since Lonesome Dove.

His latest novel, Rhino Ranch, seems to be more or less in the mold of the last 20 years. I wouldn't say it's a good novel -- but there are some very enjoyable passages, such as this one, which seems to me to be quintessential McMurtry:

"You won't rebel," Annie said firmly, putting a rosy Texas grapefruit before him. Though nearing thirty, Annie looked about sixteen. Duane was charmed by her, as he had been more or less since the moment they met.

"You can always have all the fruit you want," she reminded him. "Your problems lie in the nonfruit areas."

Nonfruit areas! That's classic McMurtry.


Bill Murray said...

Check out his son's work, better characters, and you get a whole story in 4 minutes. I still think that James Mcmurty's earlier albums are better, but his later stuff is still great.

LoneStarLibrarian said...

Hi, Jeffrey - I too am a McMurty fan, especially the earlier novels - Leaving Cheyenne, Moving On. The area of Houston he often wrote about near Rice U, which I read about while still a New Yorker,is now my neighborhood. His later novels have taken a dive, and I've had to say so in print as a book reviewer. Sometime soon Tom and I hope to go to Archer City and visit his bookstores.