Lonesome Dove

Mass Market Paperback, 960 pages

English language

Published Dec. 15, 1988 by Pocket.

ISBN:
978-0-671-68390-0
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5 stars (28 reviews)

Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry, the author of Terms of Endearment, is his long-awaited masterpiece, the major noel at last of the American West as it really was.

A love story, an adventure, an American epic, Lonesome Dove embraces all the West--legend and fact, heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers--in a novel that recreates the Central American experience, the most enduring of our national myths.

Set in the late nineteenth century. Lonesome Dove is the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana -- and much more. It is a drive that represents for everybody involved not only a Darin, even a foolhardy, adventure, but a part of the American Dream--the attempt to carve out of the last remaining wilderness a new life.

Augustus McCrae and W. F. Call are former Texas Rangers, partners and friends who have shared hardship and danger together without ever quite …

26 editions

Incredible characters

5 stars

Larry McMurtry died today and in tribute I'm recommending this book, my favorite novel. There are so many deep, interesting, lovable characters in this book. I was intensely sad that I could not spend more time with the characters as I approached the end, a feeling I had only experienced with The Goldfinch.

It's a love story and a western (or anti-western). It's about friendships, fatherhood, adventure. It's about life and forgiving yourself. It does not have enough women.

One unusual thing that's stuck with me is the extent that the American West itself is a character. The rivers are almost characters. The idea of judging distance not by miles or hours but by days or weeks to the next river or the next source of water. The idea of understanding geography as anchored by the Rio Grande, the Red, the Arkansas, the Missouri.

It's the kind of writing that …

Review of 'Lonesome Dove' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

The bleakest story I have ever read. 5/5 stars.

It's been more than a month now since I finished this book, so it's certainly high time I processed my emotions and put in a review.

This book is powerful. The writing is incredible. Every character is not only a fully realized human being (with all the flaws, faults, absurdities, cruelties, baseness, and deepest sadnesses that being a human entails), but they are all people that you've encountered in your life. They are the real folks on the street corner, serving food at the diner, working as a cashier, sitting on the bed in the hospital, across from you in the office in their cubicle, slogging through this troublesome journey called life. These characters are the people all around you, living real lives of quiet despair that you only catch a glimpse of once in a while. People making the wrong …

Review of 'Lonesome Dove' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

This is certainly an epic. McMurtry spends 300 pages introducing his characters and then another 600 weaving their stories in and out of a 3000 mile cattle drive from Texas to Montana.

McMurtry obviously loves his subject: the book is full of western tropes but he manages to undermine the myths by showing how harsh and unforgiving frontier life was, and how survival depended on luck as much as judgement and skill.

The action is nicely paced. The characters are all deep, beautifully drawn and uniquely flawed, so you end up loving and admiring them but wanting to slap some sense into them too. The book is funny as well as exciting and sad. It’s worth reading for Gus’ hilarious monologues alone.

Some of the plot lines depend heavily on coincidence. Characters run into each other all the time and at one point McMurtry tries to explain this away by …

Review of 'Lonesome Dove' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Every word in this book seems to be chosen just perfectly. The writing is simple yet evocative and the characters are unforgettable, especially the leads Gus and Call, aging ex-Texas Rangers who engage in a slightly Quixotic cattle drive from the Rio Grande to semi-mythical Montana.

But the tone not so consistent. A chapter of McMurtry’s irascible cowpokes exchanging wit will be followed by brutal sexual assault, then a passage of high adventure will lead to a shocking description of violence reminiscent of Blood Meridian (or perhaps Bone Tomahawk).

And while the cowpokes of the story are shown with depth and humor, nobody else is. In particular the Indians are either remorseless superhuman savages or pathetic criminals waiting around to be slaughtered.

And slaughtered they are. It’s hard to square the wry iconoclasts that Gus and Call start as with the Terminator-like killing machines they become when they interact with …

Review of 'Lonesome Dove' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

I considered giving this 4 stars, but the aspects that I felt let it down were, I think, me rebelling against a book that often feels too real. Deets' death was so mundane, Ellie's death happened off-screen, there wasn't a dramatic ending, Blue Duck was caught almost accidentally, Call didn't change outwardly, lots of stories were left unfinished, etc. I'm unused to stories in which there's a realistic level of drama and it was a little disappointing, I suppose. However, the characters were so incredibly well fleshed out, the book so often hilarious and heartbreaking and nail-biting that I wish it hadn't ended. I'll certainly be buying the sequel, and maybe the prequels. There are relatively few books that I re-read, but I can certainly see this becoming one of them.

Review of 'Lonesome Dove' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Wow. Just wow. What a great book. Easily the best book I've read all year. Maybe two years. Just an epic exciting tale, filled with great characters, completely believable situations, much heartbreak. This book moved me to tears and caused me to laugh out loud, cringe in disgust. I would recommend this book, highly, to anyone. These characters will be with me the rest of my life. What a great writer, Larry McMurtry. Bravo.

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Subjects

  • Historical - General
  • Fiction - Western
  • Fiction
  • Westerns - General
  • Fiction / Westerns
  • General

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