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Discussion in 'TMB Book Club' started by ALECOCK, Aug 20, 2018.
Starting this rn. Pretty excited
Interested in your review. I read the New Yorker article by Wright on Texas (this may be an excerpt?) last year which was very good.
About 100 pages in. He definitely doesn't seem to sugarcoat the state's problems, and there's a chapter dedicated to the history of oil and natural gas that is really great. George Mitchell is like the Tony Stark of the oil industry apparently. I'll write something more thorough when I finish, but it's great so far. Though, admittedly, you might enjoy it less if you've never lived in the state.
This is a great example of his willingness to impugn the state:
Just finished. It's an excellent book. I guess you would have to call it a memoir, but it's a sort of relationship memoir concerning the relationship between the state of Texas and one of its native sons. He strives to be totally honest about and acknowledge the numerous flaws of the state, though in plenty of spots I think his favoritism comes through. For example, he suggests in one passage that the the mistake of invading Iraq is the sole reason W was a poor president. But that's obviously nitpicking. By-and-large it's an exceedingly fair analysis of the state and its history and people.
I'd say two things stood out to me the most while reading. Firstly, was his ability to present fairly concise, if brief, histories of defining aspects of Texas life. His chapter about oil, for instance, is strangely riveting. Secondly, he makes a point to demonstrate how all these aspects of the state and its history have manifested in his own life, and continue to do so.
There are several parts throughout the book that make it clear that Wright senses the dying of the light. There is very little in this book that isnt retrospect, and I think part of his reason for writing this is because he's accepted who he is and there's no time left for things to change. There are several portions where Wright very bluntly addresses his mortality, and the reader is kind of along for the ride, particularly in the last two chapters.
Having said that, I would absolutely not describe this book as morose or even pessimistic. It's quite witty in fact, and as a former Texas resident considering moving back, I found his optimistic perspective on the future of Texas politics, and by-extension, American politics, to be very encouraging. Hell, he almost kind of made me revise my opinion on Karl Rove. I didn't, but I considered it.
Finally, Fuck Dan Patrick. Like, I already felt that way before reading this, but goddamn.
Lawrence Wright is a great writer
Agreed. I'm reading Looming Tower for the first time now.