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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Lonesome Dove (original 1985; edition 1990)

by Larry McMurtry

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4,944134927 (4.56)520
Title:Lonesome Dove
Authors:Larry McMurtry
Info:Pan Books (1990), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 960 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, TBR, Western

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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (1985)

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Middle book of trilogy - Former Texas Ranger Captains Augustus McCraw and Woodrow Call make first (1876) cattle drive from Rio Grande to Montana dealing with violent weather, animals and humans along the way. ( )
  kewlgeek | Jun 30, 2015 |
  kewlgeek | Jun 30, 2015 |
A great sprawling epic western novel. Starting in a slow manner at the sparse home ranch of Lonesome Dove close to the Mexican border and the Rio Grande to build up the wonderfully realised cast of characters, this story of a cattle drive from Texas up to Montana, with all the events and misfortunes, is a great read. ( )
  CarltonC | Mar 21, 2015 |
One of the best books I have ever read. Funny and heartbreaking. ( )
  Janethawn | Feb 2, 2015 |
It took me a few chapters to settle into Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry and get used to the dialogue. I knew it was a Pulitzer Prize winning novel and could see right away that the prose was exemplary. It's very lengthy at 960 pages and yet, I didn't feel it was a long read.

The story itself is a simple one about a group of cowboys, headed by two former Texas Rangers, on a 3000 mile cattle drive from Texas to Montana. But it isn't just a story about the expected trials and travails encountered along the way, Lonesome Dove is about the complicated relationships between the two primary, and the many secondary, characters. The tale unravels at a very steady pace which allows the reader time to absorb all the exquisite details of the landscape, towns and life on the Frontier and the riveting dramatic highs and lows.

The large cast of characters, some who flow in and out of the narrative, are brilliantly portrayed. With their individual strengths, frailties and peculiarities so well defined, it's easy to keep track of them all. The author has an uncanny knack of writing distinct dialogue, with humour, sarcasm, hope, fear, resentment, anger, regret, longing and love, all equally well expressed.

McMurtry lures us into complacency as he sets up the story, introduces the characters and the story begins to unfold. When the drama arrives, it's hard-hitting and gut-wrenching, Death is always near.

The cowboys' skills, courage to overcome their fears and endurance of the weather and endless days and nights in the saddle on the cattle drive is striking.

The author has the amazing talent of creating heart rending insights into the mental states of his characters. We see the petty jealousies between the men and how irritated with and intolerant of each other they become as their enforced time together on the trail lengthens. The story centers on the unspoken emotions and thoughts of the characters, Clara being the exception. She's used to speaking her mind and likes an argument as much as Gus does. The excessive anxiety and runaway thoughts which result in obsessiveness debunks the myth of the strong silent cowboy. Our cowboys are fragile and silent for the most part.

The few female figures are complex, independent and damaged. I was surprised by the depth of their bitterness and how adversarial they were towards the males. Most of the men come off badly, Gus less so because he genuinely knows and likes women. As my favourite figure, Gus McRae will be a character I remember for a long time. I love his wit, honesty, wisdom and audacity and that he's as flawed a man as there ever was.

I found myself disappearing into McMurtry's world and often replayed scenes as I fell asleep. Lonesome Dove will be one epic of the Old West that stays with me for quite a while. ( )
2 vote Zumbanista | Jan 10, 2015 |
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All of Mr. McMurtry's antimythic groundwork -his refusal to glorify the West - works to reinforce the strength of the traditionally mythic parts of ''Lonesome Dove,'' by making it far more credible than the old familiar horse operas. These are real people, and they are still larger than life. The aspects of cowboying that we have found stirring for so long are, inevitably, the aspects that are stirring when given full-dress treatment by a first-rate novelist. Toward the end, through a complicated series of plot twists, Mr. McMurtry tries to show how pathetically inadequate the frontier ethos is when confronted with any facet of life but the frontier; but by that time the reader's emotional response is it does not matter - these men drove cattle to Montana!

added by Stir | editNew York Times, Necholas Lemann (Jun 9, 1985)
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All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream. T.K. Whipple, Study Out the Land
For Maureen Orth,
In memory of
the nine McMurtry boys
"Once in the saddle they
Used to go dashing . . ."
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When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake—not a very big one.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067168390X, Mass Market Paperback)

Larry McMurtry, in books like The Last Picture Show, has depicted the modern degeneration of the myth of the American West. The subject of Lonesome Dove, cowboys herding cattle on a great trail-drive, seems like the very stuff of that cliched myth, but McMurtry bravely tackles the task of creating meaningful literature out of it. At first the novel seems the kind of anti-mythic, anti-heroic story one might expect: the main protagonists are a drunken and inarticulate pair of former Texas Rangers turned horse rustlers. Yet when the trail begins, the story picks up an energy and a drive that makes heroes of these men. Their mission may be historically insignificant, or pointless--McMurtry is smart enough to address both possibilities--but there is an undoubted valor in their lives. The result is a historically aware, intelligent, romantic novel of the mythic west that won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:13 -0400)

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Presents a love story and an epic of the frontier, richly authentic that makes readers laugh, weep, dream and remember

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