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Lonesome Dove (1985)

de Larry McMurtry

Sèrie: Lonesome Dove (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
6,8192101,020 (4.55)1 / 864
Chronicles a cattle drive in the nineteenth century from Texas to Montana, and follows the lives of Gus and Call, the cowboys heading the drive, Gus's woman, Lorena, and Blue Duck, a sinister Indian renegade.
  1. 40
    The Border Trilogy de Cormac McCarthy (paulkid)
    paulkid: Epic Westerns set in Texas and Mexico, McMurtry is more somber, McCarthy more dark.
  2. 41
    Shane de Jack Schaefer (mcenroeucsb)
  3. 31
    The Sisters Brothers de Patrick deWitt (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both have a wonderful, authentic flavor of the old west.
  4. 31
    Little Big Man de Thomas Berger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Western
  5. 10
    Angle of Repose de Wallace Stegner (sturlington)
  6. 10
    News of the World de Paulette Jiles (Ciruelo)
  7. 00
    The Hummingbird's Daughter de Luis Alberto Urrea (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both are immersive historical adventure stories with a great cast of characters, heart and a sense of humor.
  8. 00
    The New Mexico Trilogy de John Nichols (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Much more enjoyable!
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» Mira també 864 mencions

Anglès (209)  Italià (1)  Totes les llengües (210)
Es mostren 1-5 de 210 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Lonesome Dove was a great surprise. I bought the audio version some time ago, probably during an Audiable sale that I can not even recall. But the prospect of 36 hours of it made me shy away from it for a very long time. Then, as it happens every year, harvest season arrived around here and I was once again driving long hours for tractor parts or driving the silage cutter or whatever job got thrown at me by my farmer husband. Audiobooks are a must about then, and Lonesome Dove was just there.

I read somewhere that Lonesome Dove was originally a much shorter screenplay that sat on a shelf for 15 years until one day Larry McMurtry pick it up again and made it into a book. I can see how this could be true as there is a cinematographic quality to it, but also because the story is very much told through the dialogue between characters. Definitely Gus McCrae has some of the best lines of any character I ever come across.

I am too very drawn to books about the prairies and the original settlers. My husband’s family has been farming and ranching just North of Montana not far from the USA/Canada border for over a century, and stories of hardship and witty characters are part of the local lore. As distinctive of a character as Gus McCrae was, he does not sound unbelievable to my ears.

If I don’t give it 5 stars it is because this book could have been shorter. Some passages drag a bit too long, and are repetitive both in nature – how many times can Newt be drag into a cattle stampede – or in its explanatory discourse – we all got that Captain Call was a workaholic, no need to tell us 20 times. I feel that for every memorable passage, like the explanation about the sign for the Hat Creek Company, or the former bank robber, in the middle of nowhere collecting buffalo bones that are scattered as far as the eye can see, the first memorable for its comical and witty elements and the second in its iconographic display of the chaotic and almost inhuman characteristics of the time, there is an unnecessary or overdone passage.

Overall a great book that I am glad I finally got around to listening. I should also mention that I really enjoyed the narration by Lee Horsley.
( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
John and I listen when together in the car. Loved it! ( )
  mlhershey | Feb 14, 2021 |
So close to a 5 it hurts. I'm not much of one for Westerns, but this was extremely engrossing - a rich cast of characters bouncing off of one another at the end of the Wild West. The only thing that holds it back is the last third of the book, which after the loving, slow detail of the rest of the book feels rushed and uneven. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Starts out a bit slow (first 150 pages), but it is worth sticking with this massive American West volume (over 800 pages). A story that is well told, dense, researched, character heavy, and geography intense. This was a nice way to finish the final volume in 100 New Classics. ... and yes, it is! ( )
  deldevries | Jan 3, 2021 |
Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove starts with pigs and ends with sorrow. In between lies one of the best books I’ve ever read.

The novel is set in the American West after the Civil War. The protagonists, Woodrow Call and Augustus “Gus” McCrae, are former Texas Rangers who retired a decade ago and spent the intervening years in the little Texas town of Lonesome Dove. Nominally, they run the Hat Creek Cattle Company with a few of their old comrades (and two blue pigs, who kick off the book by eating a snake). But mostly they’re just whiling away the hours.

This part of the story is easy, pleasurable reading. McMurtry writes in third-person omniscient, meandering from one character to the next and bringing them to life quickly and completely. Call is a workaholic prone to brooding. (“Give Call a grievance,” we hear early on, “however silly, and he would save it like money.”) Gus is voluble and lazy. Pea Eye is simple but solid. Deets is as reliable as he is quirky (he makes his pants out of quilts). Newt is young and desperate to please.

Even minor characters get distinctive traits. Lippy “was so named because his lower lip was about the size of the flap on a saddlebag. He could tuck enough snuff under it to last a normal person at least a month; in general the lip lived a life of its own, there toward the bottom of his face. Even when he was just sitting quietly, studying his cards, the lip waved and wiggled as if it had a breeze blowing across it.” And Joe “had a habit of staring straight ahead. Though Call assumed he had a neck joint like other men, he had never seen him use it.”

For a while, it seems like the Hat Creek crew might putter around Lonesome Dove forever. Then Jake, another ex-ranger—on the run from the law, as it happens—rides into town and mentions that he’s been to Montana and seen vast tracts of good, unsettled land there. This lights a fire under Call. He spurs the boys into motion, leading them on cattle raids across the Mexican border and hiring extra hands to help drive the animals north. So begins a great, three-thousand-mile trek from some of the lowest latitudes of the country to the highest.

Things get hairy almost immediately. Death comes fast on the drive, and the dangers are too varied to guard against: snake-plagued river crossings, lightning storms on the open plains, searing droughts, and worse. Likable characters are abused and killed. Some of your favorites won’t make it. Prepare to be heartbroken.

Yet there’s no grand goal here. Call and Gus aren’t trying to open up the American West—they already served their time protecting settlers along the shifting frontier. Montana is a vague destination, not a mission; Call essentially leaves Lonesome Dove on a whim. Gus goes along for lack of anything better to do, but not eagerly. “Here you’ve brought these cattle all this way,” he complains to his partner around the halfway mark, “with all this inconvenience to me and everybody else, and you don’t have no reason in this world to be doing it.”

McMurtry has plenty of reasons for the drive, though. In his preface to the 25th-anniversary edition of Lonesome Dove, he argues that “the central theme of the novel is not the stocking of Montana but unacknowledged paternity,” namely Newt’s. His mother is long dead, and his father might be one of the Rangers.

But that wasn’t the thread that stood out most to me. The book is filled with restless souls regretting all sorts of errors. Gus wishes he’d married his sweetheart when he had the chance. “I expect it was the major mistake of my life, letting her slip by,” he tells Call. For his part, the quieter man laments getting involved with women at all. Jake can’t believe he’s committed hanging crimes. July Johnson, the Kansas sheriff pursuing Jake, hates himself for leaving three of his charges to face a murderer. And so on.

Aging is the through-line here—aging and change. Gus and Call are past their primes. They were legendary Rangers once, but now they’re fading into irrelevancy. The younger generation doesn’t hold them in the same esteem. “I guess they forgot us, like they forgot the Alamo,” August observes after the owner of a bar tries to kick him out for demanding respectful treatment. “Why wouldn’t they?” Call answers. “We ain’t been around.”

The West is moving on too. The buffalo are nearly done, pushed to the brink of extinction by wasteful hunting. Gus rides past several slaughter sites where it looks like “a whole herd had been wiped out, for a road of bones stretched far across the plain.” The Native Americans aren’t in much better shape—despite their fearsome reputation, their numbers have dwindled in tandem with the buffalos’. “With those millions of animals gone,” Gus reflects, “and the Indians mostly gone in their wake, the great plains were truly empty, unpeopled and ungrazed. Soon the whites would come, of course, but what he was seeing was a moment between, not the plains as they had been, or as they would be, but a moment of true emptiness, with thousands of miles of grass resting unused, occupied only by remnants—of the buffalo, the Indians, the hunters.”

This is all tragic, but it’s beautifully done.

A couple things bothered me, however. That 25th-anniversary preface contains what feel like major spoilers. They aren’t, but I’d still skip this section until you’re done with the story proper. (Unless you want to start the book as grumpy as I did.)

More significantly, while Deets shines as the only African American in the Hat Creek outfit (“He’s the best man we got,” Call says late in the drive; “Best man we’ve ever had,” Augustus agrees), the one Native American that gets extended time on the page is a vicious monster. We meet some friendlier indigenous people in passing, but I kept waiting for a real counterweight: a kind Comanche, or a decent Sioux. It never happens. (To be fair, McMurtry does have Gus take a few stabs at articulating why the Native Americans aren’t always hospitable. “We won more than our share with the natives,” he remarks near the end of the novel. They didn’t invite us here, you know. We got no call to be vengeful.” And earlier, he puzzles Call by saying, “I think we spent our best years fighting on the wrong side.” I don’t think this is enough, but it’s something.)

Other than that … it’s hard to complain. Lonesome Dove doesn’t close with a climactic shootout like you might find in other westerns. But it doesn’t need to. The journey—Gus and Call’s last shot at big, unnecessary adventure—is the point.

And it’s a masterpiece.

(For more reviews like this one, see www.nickwisseman.com) ( )
1 vota nickwisseman | Nov 14, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 210 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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!

afegit per Stir | editaNew York Times, Necholas Lemann (Jun 9, 1985)
 
Pure brilliance. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to hardy@novelstar.top or joye@novelstar.top and there is a competition happening in NovelStar this April you might want to join.
https://author.starlight.ink/essay/ind...
https://author.starlight.ink
afegit per JewelBonney2888 | editaNovelStar
 
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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
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For Maureen Orth,
and
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"Once in the saddle they
Used to go dashing . . ."
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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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Chronicles a cattle drive in the nineteenth century from Texas to Montana, and follows the lives of Gus and Call, the cowboys heading the drive, Gus's woman, Lorena, and Blue Duck, a sinister Indian renegade.

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