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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Lonesome Dove (original 1985; edition 1990)

by Larry McMurtry

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5,228157849 (4.56)633
Title:Lonesome Dove
Authors:Larry McMurtry
Info:Pan Books (1990), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 960 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, TBR, Western

Work details

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (1985)

  1. 10
    The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy (paulkid)
    paulkid: Epic Westerns set in Texas and Mexico, McMurtry is more somber, McCarthy more dark.
  2. 32
    Shane by Jack Schaefer (mcenroeucsb)
  3. 21
    Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Western
  4. 11
    The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both have a wonderful, authentic flavor of the old west.
  5. 01
    The New Mexico Trilogy by John Nichols (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Much more enjoyable!
  6. 13
    The Cowboy and the Cossack by Clair Huffaker (shesinplainview)

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» See also 633 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
"If you only come face-to-face with your own mistakes once or twice in your life it's bound to be extra painful. I face mine every day - that way they ain't usually much worse than a dry shave."

So all y'all were right. This book is so much more than a western - it is also a western would be a more apt description. And I was not expecting to love it despite all the glowing praise that it accrued at just being mentioned on my thread. I think what really shines here is the humor that resides even in the darker passages. This was such a fabulous surprise to me. And the well crafted characters who are deeply flawed but also deeply lovable. And the ones that you want to love but just can't because they keep letting you down - we have all known people like that. Life is full of them.

Perhaps the greatest achievement here is that the book does not feel like it is over 800 pages - you just open the cover and fall right in. I never had to make myself pick it up, and I found myself sneaking moments with it for just one more chapter. And then just one more after that. I also loved that, for me, it was not predictable. Just when I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen, it went another direction. I loved how the characters wove into and out of each others' lives. And how the plot got twisty only to straighten itself out again before it began once more twisting in on itself. Beautiful.

My favorite character? Deets, hands down, and I wanted to know more about him. After that, I don't know how you could possibly fail to love Gus, who gets all the best lines and who never fails to stand tall when he needs to, but is just as quick to sit back down again. His introspection on a life lived taming the West only to find that it came at perhaps too high a cost is worth the price of admission alone, but there is so much more here. Heartbreak and belly laughs, passages begging to be read aloud and bittersweet irony that will have you holding your breath, characters that will stay with you long after closing the covers of the book...it's all here. Just waiting. Oh so highly recommended. ( )
4 vote Crazymamie | Jul 24, 2016 |
  StPaulsChurch | Jul 19, 2016 |
I would give it 10 stars if I could!

This is one of the best books I've ever read. No wonder it won a Pulitzer!

It was beautifully written. So much so that I felt as if I was transported back into that time period.

I saw the film long before I even knew it was a book and I can say they got the casting right! I could clearly picture every character and they all felt right to me.

It was slow paced, but not in a bad way. It truly told the whole story without a lot of time skips or with the reader having to forgive the author for not giving a better explaination of things. When I started the book, I felt like I already knew the story, but I know I was wrong. NOW I know the story.

As big and epic as the book is, it will find its way to my re-read shelf with The Lord of the Rings, Harty Potter and all the other books that can make me cry.

I'm usually better at reviews, but this book was so fantastic I don't even know what to say about it. It speaks for itself. I cannot wait to read the other books in the series! ( )
  PriPri77 | Jun 23, 2016 |
Such strong characters: their disappointment in, and affection for, one another fairly leaps off the page. I did have some problems with the story and style, but it certainly held my attention and built well. ( )
  jlj | Jun 20, 2016 |
4.5 stars

Lonesome Dove is a book celebrating the memory of a breed which died out long ago, who had been dying out a while before the events of the book even started. A purely character-driven story, it shows both the joys and the miseries of the old west, along with the heroes and villains who were around when it first began. They became respected or respectively feared as legends before their deaths, and despite the time passing, were forever restless.

Augustus McRae is the heart of the novel in terms of characterization – his humor and carefree attitude make fun times, his honor is commendable, and his itch to argue and debate keeps the others on their toes. I personally loved the cold and unemotional Call who battled night and day with his personal demons – he had no issue spending his life roaming and finding new territories, but in his personal life he had strict barriers up against most people, unable to even set a foot in the right direction to cross and break those boundaries.

I found the friendship between Call and Gus beautiful, although Clara clearly didn't. She saw them as poisonous to each other by encouraging their roaming lifestyles, while in them I saw two last men standing together, Gus knowing how much Call needed him and knowing the man better than he knew himself. Their strong differences in personality were amusing, but what united them was stronger that was divided.

You have the two strong leaders that are paired with men riddled with fears, doubts, insecurities, and invulnerabilities. Newt was especially adorable as he tried to fit in; he was one of my favorites. The scene with the Indians and him losing the cattle was hilarious, the end with him and Call heartbreaking.

The women were…mixed. Elmira was about as much of a villain as Blue Duck, not in a violent way but horribly dislikable. Clara was strong and feisty, it was interesting being in her head. They all had their losses in the violent times, and hers were among the worse with her dead children. How sad! While she rocked in some ways, she turned me off in others. Lorena was interesting as she was so cold and cut off that it took me awhile to warm up to her and care much. Her plight during the story was harrowing and destructive. The ending with her was potently emotional.

While I enjoyed being in the head of most of the characters, there were a few I didn't care to be in the head of and my attention drifted. The book took a little long to get off, I was anxious for the journey to finally begin. When it did, it was fascinating – through horrible scenes that further cemented my snake phobia (terrible), wild animals, Indian wars and Indian alliances, betrayal among the men, weather realities, personal growth – for some a step forward, some a sad step backward.

Bountifully rich with strong characters, Lonesome Dove worked on so many levels than just that. Villains were purely bad through and through, and gloried in it. Heroes were pedestal worthy by legend but not in their own minds. The layers of how they reacted to their acknowledgement in town, to travels, to memories, was well structured. It was interesting in the last pages that when he planted the sign, that their names had been rubbed off.

Even if the book is speaking of the living as they lived, there are always - whether in people or memories - ghosts flickering with them on the pages.
( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
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 . . ."
First words
When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake—not a very big one.
Fictions - in my case, novels only, to the tune of about thirty - starts in tactile motion; pecking out a few sentences on a typewriter; sentences that might encourage me and perhaps a few potential readers to press on. (Preface)
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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)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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