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Friday, January 20, 2017

Lonesome Dove

Here's my review of Lonesome Dove, next on my reading list are The Stars, Like Dust, Hillbilly Elegy, and My Antonia.

I have never been a fan of Western movies; Shane is the subject of a special pool of hatred in my heart.  As such, I approached Lonesome Dove in much the same way that I did War and Peace.  A 945 page novel about mismatched retired Texas Rangers making a cattle drive in the 1870s? I expected it to be a long, tedious slog that would ultimately damage my desire to read.  But like War and Peace, Lonesome Dove turned out to be a wonderful surprise.  This book is fantastic.

Lonesome Dove was originally written as a screenplay, but the production fell through when John Wayne declined.  I think there might have been some regulation requiring his presence in any movie with cowboys.  It might have ended there.  Instead, the author, Larry McMurtry (Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show) bought the 75-page screenplay from the studio and expanded it into a novel spanning almost a thousand pages published in 1985.  It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was ultimately made into a miniseries that was largely credited with revitalizing both the Western genre and miniseries format.  In the end, the Lonesome Dove franchise included four novels, five miniseries, and two television shows (although neither of them made it past the first season).

Lonesome Dove: A Novel by [McMurtry, Larry]