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Literary life : a second memoir
Larry McMurtry
Adult Nonfiction PS3563.A319 Z46 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this, the second of three planned memoirs, McMurtry takes a laconic look back over a life in letters that now includes some 40 books and an equal number of screenplays. Best known for the popular movies made from his novels, including Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, McMurtry also co-wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain and served two terms as the president of American PEN. This makes for a lot of literary living, and McMurtry reminisces about interactions with such luminaries as Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, and John Updike, as well as lesser-known figures like Michael Korda and Grover Lewis. Throughout his career, McMurtry has mostly written about his native Texas and the American West, and the early chapters provide a fascinating look into the artistic development of smalltown boy into writer during the 1950s and 1960s. Further on, the book declines into a series of hit-and-miss literary anecdotes, with McMurtry's side business as a bookseller providing many of the highlights. McMurtry's understated style is charming and deceptively sophisticated, although at times it is so laconic as to lack a pulse. Still, the old master proves entertaining. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

McMurtry (Lonesome Dove; Terms of Endearment) laments that lack of interest in his books continues to this day. (Surely he means lack of critical interest, for his books check out constantly from public libraries.) Here readers of McMurtry's novels will find an interesting sequel to Books: A Memoir in Literary Life. It is an account of McMurtry's life as a writer, his "long, stutter-step affair" ranging from college to years as aspiring author to winning the Pulitzer and subsequent years as president of PEN. McMurtry delivers this plain-spoken, almost cowboy-terse account in casual chronological order. Its primary focus is upon relationships with mentors, friends, and other authors-Grover Lewis, Ken Kesey, Michael Korda, and Peter Bogdanovich, to name a few. Verdict For readers needing to pinpoint emotive events in well-known authors' lives, McMurtry may prove a bit vague, for he shies away from personal narrative. As verbose as Gus in Lonesome Dove, he, paradoxically, like Captain Call, regards his private life as his own. McMurtry fans will enjoy this nonetheless. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/09.]-Nedra Crowe-Evers, Sonoma Cty. Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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