by Larry McMurtry
LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry is a massive novel, both in size and in scope. The first book in the Lonesome Dove Series, it was released in 1985 and won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1989 it was produced as a four-part, made for TV motion picture, starring Robert Duval, Tommy Lee Jones, and a host of other fine character actors, and won two Golden Globe awards. To list Larry McMurtry’s writing accomplishments here would consume pages. The volume of his work is mountainous, and LONESOME DOVE sits atop the peak. It has been praised by many as the best western novel ever written, and I certainly cannot disagree.
The foundation of the book is simple. Captain Woodrow Call and Captain Augustus McRae are two aging ex-Texas Rangers who, on not much more than a whim, leave their life in southern Texas and begin a trail drive with several thousand cattle on the way to the promised land of water and grass in Montana. That premise supports several divergent plots that are beautifully intertwined in the story. The comedy and tragedy, the hardship and happenstance, and the people who bring this tale to life are impeccably drawn by McMurtry. His dialogue, characters, and conceptions are dead solid perfect.
Lonesome Dove is a Western among westerns. It towers above the rest, and if you read it you will live it. It will carry you along on that trail drive, it will show you a depth of understanding rarely written, it will present you with honest violence, unending love, superb bravery, tragic loss, and a cast of characters as crisp as the crack of a gunshot.
Captain McRae and Captain Call are looking for trail hands. Sign up. You’ll love the trip.
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