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Loop Group by Larry McMurtry
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Loop Group (edition 2004)

by Larry McMurtry

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252468,431 (2.51)3
Member:hardlyhardy
Title:Loop Group
Authors:Larry McMurtry
Info:Simon & Schuster (2004), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:novel

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Loop Group by Larry McMurtry (Author)

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Showing 4 of 4
In his memoir “Hollywood,” author Larry McMurtry writes that he considers “Loop Group” a better novel than “Lonesome Dove,” his Pulitzer Prize-winner. This surprised me, for I had a low opinion of “Loop Group” when I read it soon after it was published in 2004. I decided to give “Loop Group” another try, this time with the Recorded Books version narrated by actress C.J. Critt.

My vote still goes with “Lonesome Dove,” but I now admit I badly underestimated the later novel. I had remembered it as a rather mindless “hero takes a journey” story with two mature women in a comic version of “Thelma and Louise.” I discovered on my second encounter with the novel that it is far from mindless, and while Maggie and Connie, the two women who have been best friends since sixth grade, do take a journey (from Hollywood to Texas), most of the action takes place close to home.

Both women, whether married or not, have been on the prowl for lovers since they were 12-year-olds. Now they are 60 and determined not to turn into matrons. But Maggie has just had a hysterectomy and is in the dumps. She doubts if any man will ever desire her again. She has never strayed far from Hollywood in her life, but she wonders if a road trip, perhaps to visit her one surviving aunt in Texas, might revive her spirits. Connie has no interest in going to a Texas, but she can’t bear being separated from Maggie.

Maggie heads a loop group that provides background voices for minor Hollywood films. Freeing herself of her obligations to her group, as well as to her three grown daughters, slows her departure, as does the sudden realization that she is in love with her longtime analyst.

The novel’s title, we come to realize, refers to more than just Maggie’s group. There is her and Connie’s looping and loopy drive to Texas and back. There’s the way Connie, her daughters and others tend to go round in circles, with Maggie at their center. And there is the way the entire novel seems to travel in a loop, returning Maggie and Connie to where they began, two hot, very unmatronly, on-the-prowl women.

The novel is fun, if naughty fun, but it is also a fine work of literature. But better than “Lonesome Dove”? I think not. ( )
  hardlyhardy | May 19, 2019 |
Larry McMurtry has always had the knack of creating memorably quirky characters for his novels and Loop Group is no exception. He seems to have a particular fondness for feisty sixty-something year old women, and with Maggie Clary and her best friend Connie, he has created two of the funniest fictional women since Terms of Endearment’s Aurora Greenway. Maggie and Connie, best friends since the sixth grade, are two women who simply refuse to act like the sixty-year olds they are. Single and lusty as ever, they are still using their Hollywood contacts to hustle a living as part of a “loop group” that provides groans, shrieks, grunts and other sounds as part of the dubbing process used for movie soundtracks.

Critics have pointed out that the movie world no longer functions as McMurtry portrays it in Loop Group, if it ever did. But that’s really not the point. This is comedy, almost slapstick at times, and the workaday details of Hollywood movie production are just not an important a part of the story. Readers looking for a realistic portrayal of Hollywood, or for answers about the meaning of life for those who reach sixty years of age, will be disappointed. This is a comedy, not a self-help book, and it is a first-rate comedy, at that. I was surprised at the number of extremely bad reviews the book has received on Amazon.com because this is vintage McMurtry with a style and tone that is not unlike many of his best books of the past. Loop Group is being panned for many of the same reasons that other McMurtry books have been praised.

Maggie has literally not felt whole since her hysterectomy and her three daughters and her friends are worried enough about her that she has begun to receive their special attention. Depressed and listless, and growing more depressed all the time because of all the extra attention she is getting, Maggie decides to take the advice of a flirtatious waiter to get away from it all and see a bit of America. She and Connie, two women who have never strayed far from Los Angeles in their entire lives, head for Texas to visit Maggie’s only living aunt, a vigorous six-gun toting woman who is the proud owner of “two million chickens” and a house that reminds the ladies of the one in the movie Giant.

Maggie and Connie are no Thelma and Louise and on their way to Texas they manage to meet a “professional” hitchhiker who scares them so badly that they leave the interstate and travel some of the most desolate back roads that the Southwest has to offer. They even manage to lose their van to a chronic car thief when they stop in the middle of nowhere at the first sign of civilization that they’ve seen for hours.

Typical of a Larry McMurtry book, Maggie and Connie share their lives and their little adventures with side characters eccentric enough to make them seem almost normal. There are Maggie’s little Sicilian shrink, the various members of her “loop group,” her three daughters and their husbands, and her Aunt Cooney, for a start. This one is fun. Especially so if the reader recognizes up front that it is farce and not intended as a guide book to aging gracefully, a point that many critics seem to have missed.

Rated at: 4.0 ( )
  SamSattler | Nov 27, 2007 |
This book is better than McMurtry's other recent novels. I tend to prefer his modern/contemporary novels rather than those set in the 19th century "old west."

Loop Group may have limited appeal since it's main characters are older. However, it is set in Hollywood and draws on McMurtry's connections with film making.

His prose, as always, is easy to read, and enjoyable. ( )
  nickn54 | Jul 26, 2007 |
I've just finished my first book of the year, Loop Group by Larry McMurtry. Ordinarily I am a huge fan of McMurtry's writing but this book just left me cold. It was disjointed and reads like he wrote it in a hurry just to get the darn thing published. It has a good premise.....a 60 year old, life-long Hollywood resident and her relationships with her daughters, best friend and various other people in her life. Unfortunately McMurtry doesn't explore any of the relationships in depth. Instead, he jumps around from one improbable scenario to another at the speed of light. There is no time for the reader to get to know the characters, no time for empathy (or any other emotion for that matter) to develop. All in all, I give this book 1 star at best and certainly wouldn't recommend it to McMurtry fans. ( )
  GeecheGirl | Jan 2, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743250958, Paperback)

In perhaps his finest contemporary novel since Terms of Endearment, Larry McMurtry, with his miraculously sure touch at creating instantly recognizable women characters and his equally miraculous sharp eye for the absurdities of everyday life in the modern West, writes about two women, old friends, who set off on an adventure -- with unpredictable and sometimes hilarious results.

As Loop Group opens, we meet Maggie, whose three grown-up daughters have arrived at her Hollywood home to try and make her see sense about her busy life, a life that intersects with lots of interesting -- all right, bizarre -- people. Her daughters push her into having a few second thoughts about it, and these are reinforced when her best friend, Connie, seeks an escape from her own world of complex and difficult relationships with men. Maggie conceives the idea of driving to visit her Aunt Cooney's ranch near Electric City, Texas, and the two women prepare for the trip by buying a .38 Special revolver (which leads to unexpected trouble along the way). This road trip will end by changing their lives.

Alternately hilariously funny and profoundly sad -- even tragic -- Loop Group is a major Larry McMurtry novel and a joy to read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"As Loop Group opens, we meet Maggie, whose three grown-up daughters have arrived at her Hollywood home and try and make her see sense about her life, which isn't easy, first of all because their own lives are a mess, and secondly because as far as Maggie is concerned her own life makes perfect sense. She is self-supporting, running a successful "loop group" dubbing movies, she has a lover (admittedly he is married, and her psychoanalyst, and very old), and leads a busy life that intersects with lots of interesting - all right, bizarre - people." "Still, her daughters push her into having a few second thoughts about her life, and these are reinforced when her best friend, Connie, seeks an escape from her own world of complex and difficult relationships with men. Since neither high-end nor low-end shopping seems to relieve their angst, and since a succession of sad events takes place that shakes Maggie to the core, she conceives the idea of driving to visit her Aunt Cooney's ranch near Electric City, Texas, and the two women prepare for the trip by buying a .38 Special revolver (which leads to unexpected trouble along the way). This road trip will end by changing their lives." "Tangling along the way with Hopi Indians, with a bearded vagrant who turns out to be an old acquaintance, with the theft of their car (and their revolver), and with every possible variety of cardsharp, faker, charmer, and crook, the two women eventually proceed through the desert landscape to Electric City and discover some home truths about life. When they return to Hollywood, they find that one of Maggie's old friends, an ancient MGM producer, has left her a gift that enables her to make a new start to her life and to bring a new measure of sanity to her family and friends."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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