LARRY MCMURTRY – Tracy Daugherty – “Vanishing Crafts, Epic Story”

A comprehensive biography of Larry McMurtry, the novelist, bookseller, scriptwriter, and curmudgeon, that will appeal to any admirer of his work.

By Tracy Daugherty ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023

The late Pulitzer Prize–winning Texas novelist Larry McMurtry (1936-2021) was known for his stories of vanishing crafts and trades, such as cowboying and bookselling. His classic novel The Last Picture Show (1966) depicted a tiny crossroads town in north Texas, where McMurtry grew up, and the death of the town’s moral heart and patriarch. To escape his malevolent father, McMurtry moved to Houston, teaching at Rice University and scouting for books while building the wherewithal for a bookshop of his own. He wrote in back rooms and moldy basements, and his Western Lonesome Dove gave voice to many a voiceless Texan, especially the taciturn, repressed women of his small-town youth.

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Literary biographer Daugherty provides a thoughtful yet appropriate critical treatment of McMurtry, noting that his literary output was of mixed quality. While McMurtry’s vision of the disappearing frontier and of the dead-end hamlets that followed it yielded his best work, his later-in-life projects with partner Diana Ossana on screenplays such as Brokeback Mountain will also endure. Despite his frequent ill temper and hermetic tendencies, McMurtry emerges as a well-rounded, if quirky human—and certainly a memorable one.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
ISBN: 9781250282330

Page Count: 560
Publisher: St. Martin’s

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023