Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Fiction - Western
2017 Phoenix Books (first published in 1985)
Narrated by Lee Horsley
Finished on September 14, 2023
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, Lonesome Dove, the third book in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic, Lonesome Dove is a book to make us laugh, weep, dream, and remember.
I finally did it! I read Lonesome Dove!
As mentioned in the publisher's blurb, Lonesome Dove has a little bit of everything: cowboys, horse thieves, Indians, whores, ranchers, and two former Texas Rangers, not to mention gunfights, snake bites, dust storms, grasshoppers, and blizzards. It took a long time before I got hooked (well over my usual 100 pages cut-off point), but I stuck with it since so many readers have raved about this book. (My sister-in-law has encouraged me for at least two decades to read the saga.) I listened to the audio for over 5 weeks (it runs just shy of 37 hours!) and was happy when I finally got to the point in which I started looking forward to my daily listen, eager to find out what adventures were in store for Gus, Call, and the Hat Creek Outfit.
Lee Horsley does a fine job with the audio narration of Larry McMurtry's epic, although I was a little put off by Horsley's reading during the first hour or so; once he stopped breathing directly into the microphone, I could enjoy his vocal characterizations of each individual. While some listeners have complained about the volume Horsley uses for Gus McCrae's character, I didn't mind his loud voice, which reminded me of Calamity Jane's voice in the HBO series, Deadwood. It's all just part of Gus's colorful personality.
Westerns are not my usual choice of fiction, and I can only think of four that I've read in the genre: Whiskey When We're Dry (John Larison), All the Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy), News of the World (Paulette Jiles), and These Is My Words (Nancy Turner), all of which I loved. I might consider reading the other books in McMurtry's tetralogy, but I'd just as soon re-read Lonesome Dove, it was that entertaining. I laughed out loud and felt sad when lives were lost. It will be a long time before I forget Gus, Call, Newt, Lippy, Dish, Pea Eye, Lorie, and Clara. Now to watch the miniseries.