April 2018 Book Club Book: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Discussion in 'TMB Book Club' started by The Blackfish, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
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    Through Chapter 39

    Slow starter as others have mentioned but really getting into it now. Really wish I hadn't read the foreword in the edition I'm reading; it somewhat spoils a plot point that has been hinted at but not confirmed. Gus is hilarious obviously but it seems that every character's thoughts had to mention how much he talks which sort of annoyed me. Minor quibble though. I'm starting to not like Jake but am very interested in seeing what happens there.
     
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  2. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
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    Through Chapter 88

    Can't say I was sad to see Jake and Elmira go. Thought Jake's hanging as well as the crew's visit to Clara's were both well conveyed by McMurtry. Getting excited about how this all will end but I imagine it will be bittersweet when it's done. Hoping for a positive ending for Lorena.
     
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  3. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
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    Done - 9/10

    Even though you felt it coming for a while, Gus' death still hit me hard. Kept hoping Call would get back to him in time. What a spectacular character McMurtry dreamed up with Gus.

    Felt terrible for Newt when Call was leaving. Hoping he finds his peace. Same for Lorena. I don't know much about the rest of the books in the series but maybe some of that is fleshed out.

    July needs to grow up. Fitting end for Blue Duck, I thought, though I would have liked to have seen Call take him out somehow.

    All in all, very happy we did this one. One of my favorite reads in awhile.
     
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  4. The Blackfish

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    I agree with pretty much all of your points, including that this was a great pick, because it was
     
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  5. RegimentML

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    I finished reading on Saturday. 9/10

    All in all, this was a great book. It's interesting because it doesn't really have a core plot, outside of the basic idea of "we're going on a cattle drive to Montana". I'd call it episodic, or picaresque, except that instead of one hero like Don Quixote, we have about six of them (with two main ones) and a bunch of other POV characters. Doesn't really matter, though. I just enjoyed the adventure. I did have a few thoughts:
    • I guess it just comes down to personal taste, or maybe it's an age thing, but I never really got used to the head-hopping. It stopped being so jarring after a while, but I still had to re-read some sections because I would be reading a Newt paragraph and then suddenly I was in Call's thoughts and it would surprise me. That's a small gripe, though.
    • I thought the point one of you all made that everyone in this book wanted something they couldn't have hit the nail on the head. That's basically the central theme of the book, in my view. Which is kind of depressing. And it made the ending of the book pretty abrupt (guy sets himself on fire, along with his business, because he couldn't have Laurie. /fin).
    • I realize this is a book about a bunch of uneducated cowhands, but man, I could've used a couple more intelligent (or maybe just non-naive) characters. Jumping from Pea Eye to Newt to July Johnson to Roscoe was taxing. Damn that's a lot of confused people. The Gus chapters, even though he was a loudmouth (albeit an amusing one), were welcomed breaks.
    • I disliked McMurtry introducing Janey and then killing her so swiftly. She was interesting and I would have liked to learn more about her.
    • Elmira sucked, but I would have liked to have her death be "on-screen" instead of just an offhand comment.
    • I loved the depth of each character, but I thought most of them didn't show much character progression from the beginning of the book to the end. They basically were who they were. So we got a lot of backstory and fleshing out, but not a lot of arc.
    • McMurtry has a very simple, straight-forward style, and I'm a little surprised the Pulitzer committee would recognize him as someone worthy of their prize. Not because he isn't talented enough or the book wasn't good enough, but basically because I would've thought in the 1980s they would be too stuffy and would've looked down on westerns. Especially one that's not trying to be something it's not (overly academic, literary).
    • Blue Duck's death was pretty cool, even though he was basically pure evil.
    • McMurtry obviously did a lot of research for this book. I wish I knew more about the daily life of ranching so I could appreciate the subtleties he threw in to describe the processes, but just his brief descriptions of Native Americans, locations, etc. seemed really accurate.
    • I thought Clara calling out Call, while brutal, was pretty accurate. He held himself to a standard that he didn't come close to meeting.
    I've started the miniseries (two episodes in). It's also well done, for anyone interested. I'd like to read the other two books but I'm a bit burnt out on 300k word epics. I've read three so far this year, back-to-back-to-back. I need a breather.
     
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  6. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    I watched the Mini Series too. They did right by the books. Some of it is hammed up because it's the 80s, but that's forgivable. I always like watching adaptations of books, especially ones that are close to the books to see how you picture things vs how they came out on screen.
     
  7. Truman

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    decided to start the rest of the books.

    is the best way in order of publication, or chronologically
     
  8. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Read the other 3 books. There were really good, but not as good as Lonesome Dove.

    Id also recommend reading them in order of publication date, not chronological order
     
  9. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Reading Empire of the Summer Moon. Non fiction about the Comanche.

    About 1/3rd in. It’s a great book. Reason I’m posting itt thread is you can see where McMurtry got a lot of his ethos from. Especially in the prequel books where Call and Gus made their names as Rangers fighting the Comanche. Their main foil in those books was a real person.

    Pretty cool
     
  10. CBH

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    I actually just picked up Empire of the Summer Moon a week back or so, not sure when I'm going to get to put in the rotation though
     
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  11. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Finished it yesterday. Loved it. Learned so much
     
  12. CBH

    CBH Well-Known Member
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    Good to know I'm going to try and get to it soon