(The book is entertaining. You can read it like Tolstoy – in parts. A brief update to previous post)
McMurtry’s writing in this one is often like rodeo-talk mixed with the campy voice of “Dodge Ram tough.” Events can sometimes be trifling and sometimes sublime. When the author shifts to events of more substance the writing comes forward with an accomplished ease.
The book’s ending soars above the rest. The Montana chapters and Woodrow Call’s return-to-Texas chapters have their own tone and relentless pace. The writing is clear and unobtrusive and therefore perfect for the action.
McMurtry’s general readership may not know his creative writing credentials. He took his degree in Texas then joined a highly talented class of writers at Stanford University back in the Sixties, including Robert Stone and Ken Kesey. Frank O’Connor was one of his teachers.
McMurtry gives us honest prose using the omniscient voice of a skilled novelist. There is no short-changing, plenty of patience. In such a lengthy book, enormous writing energy is required to create scene after scene, weaving the motives and desires of characters, making them vivid, and placing them in an action-packed milieu that we can see and experience. Larry McMurty is a treasure in American fiction.