Review: Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My original review is posted on the paperback, I guess. So, what the heck, I’ll write another one.

I didn’t plan to re-read Lonesome Dove as I explored the rest of the adventures of Gus and Call. After reading Dead Man’s Walk and Comanche Moon I figured I’d just watch the TV mini-series of Lonesome Dove and move on to The Streets of Laredo. Buuuut … I decided to go ahead and do this one again, after all. I don’t regret it, but much of my original criticism of the book still applies.

First, McMurtry’s head-hopping is still jolting. One paragraph you’re getting Gus’s thoughts, then suddenly you get a page of Pea Eye, then Newt, etc. It’s annoying. Second, the book rambles and repeats itself. It could easily be 2/3 or even a half as long as it is. And finally, Call’s refusal to acknowledge what he needs to acknowledge in the end is still infuriating.

A new complaint is that the story about Clara is told differently in this novel than the way it played out in the previous two, and that is almost unforgivable considering its importance to the overall story arc. Sheesh, McMurtry, c’mon man, you could have just re-read what you said in Lonesome Dove and written the romance to fit that in the other books.

All that aside, I came to love the characters even more than the first time after having ridden with them for the two previous novels. Even Woodrow Call is more understandable, if no more likable, but Gus is the star, a very real character with towering strengths and endearing weaknesses. I have to say I have some trepidations about The Streets of Laredo without Gus, but the series has to be finished.

Lee Horsley’s narration is a work of art. His voicing of Gus and Pea Eye, especially, are stand-outs. It’s a shame he hasn’t narrated more novels.

View all my reviews

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