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The Desert Rose

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winner Larry McMurtry writes novels set in the American heartland, but his real territory is the heart itself. His gift for writing about women -- their love for reckless, hopeless men; their ability to see the good in losers; and their peculiar combination of emotional strength and sudden weakness -- makes The Desert Rose the bittersweet, funny, and touching book that it is.

Harmony is a Las Vegas showgirl. At night she's a lead dancer in a gambling casino; ...

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The Desert Rose

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winner Larry McMurtry writes novels set in the American heartland, but his real territory is the heart itself. His gift for writing about women -- their love for reckless, hopeless men; their ability to see the good in losers; and their peculiar combination of emotional strength and sudden weakness -- makes The Desert Rose the bittersweet, funny, and touching book that it is.

Harmony is a Las Vegas showgirl. At night she's a lead dancer in a gambling casino; during the day she raises peacocks. She's one of a dying breed of dancers, faced with fewer and fewer jobs and an even bleaker future. Yet she maintains a calm cheerfulness in that arid neon landscape of supermarkets, drive-in wedding chapels, and all-night casinos. While Harmony's star is fading, her beautiful, cynical daughter Pepper's is on the rise. But Harmony remains wistful and optimistic through it all. She is the unexpected blossom in the wasteland, the tough and tender desert rose. Hers is a loving portrait that only Larry McMurtry could render.

A loving portrait of a Las Vega showgirl in that arid neon landscape of supermarkets, drive-in wedding chapels and all-night casinos.

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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
A wry, funny, bittersweet gem…the quality of the writing is quite stunning…
The Dallas Morning News
From the Publisher
The Washington Post Book World Beautiful....Unquestionably one of [McMurtry's] best novels.

The New Yorker Sad and sweet yet rigorously unsentimental. Mr. McMurtry has the power to clutch the heart and also somehow to exhilarate.

Los Angeles Times Warm and funny...McMurtry can transform ordinary words into highly lyrical, poetic passages...and presents human dramas with a sympathy and compassion that make us care about his characters in ways that most novelists can't.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736610070
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/1985
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 8 Cassettes

Meet the Author

Larry McMurtry

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

Biography

Back in the late 60s, the fact that Larry McMurtry was not a household name was really a thorn in the side of the writer. To illustrate his dissatisfaction with his status, he would go around wearing a T-shirt that read "Minor Regional Novelist." Well, more than thirty books, two Oscar-winning screenplays, and a Pulitzer Prize later, McMurtry is anything but a minor regional novelist.

Having worked on his father's Texas cattle ranch for a great deal of his early life, McMurtry had an inborn fascination with the West, both its fabled history and current state. However, he never saw himself as a life-long rancher and aspired to a more creative career. He achieved this at the age of 25 when he published his first novel. Horseman, Pass By was a wholly original take on the classic western. Humorous, heartbreaking, and utterly human, this story of a hedonistic cowboy in contemporary Texas was a huge hit for the young author and even spawned a major motion picture starring Paul Newman called Hud just two years after its 1961 publication. Extraordinarily, McMurtry was even allowed to write the script, a rare honor for such a novice.

With such an auspicious debut, it is hard to believe that McMurtry ever felt as though he'd been slighted by the public or marginalized as a minor talent. While all of his books may not have received equal attention, he did have a number of astounding successes early in his career. His third novel The Last Picture Show, a coming-of-age-in-the-southwest story, became a genuine classic, drawing comparisons to J. D. Salinger and James Jones. In 1971, Peter Bogdonovich's screen adaptation of the novel would score McMurtry his first Academy award for his screenplay. Three years later, he published Terms of Endearment, a critically lauded urban family drama that would become a hit movie starring Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine in 1985.

That year, McMurtry published what many believe to be his definitive novel. An expansive epic sweeping through all the legends and characters that inhabited the old west, Lonesome Dove was a masterpiece. All of the elements that made McMurtry's writing so distinguished -- his skillful dialogue, richly drawn characters, and uncanny ability to establish a fully-realized setting -- convened in this Pulitzer winning story of two retired Texas rangers who venture from Texas to Montana. The novel was a tremendous critical and commercial favorite, and became a popular miniseries in 1989.

Following the massive success of Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry's prolificacy grew. He would publish at least one book nearly every year for the next twenty years, including Texasville, a gut-wrenching yet hilarious sequel to The Last Picture Show, Buffalo Girls, a fictionalized account of the later days of Calamity Jane, and several non-fiction titles, such as Crazy Horse.

Interestingly, McMurtry would receive his greatest notoriety in his late 60s as the co-screenwriter of Ang Lee's controversial film Brokeback Mountain. The movie would score the writer another Oscar and become one of the most critically heralded films of 2005. The following year he published his latest novel. Telegraph Days is a freewheeling comedic run-through of western folklore and surely one of McMurtry's most inventive stories and enjoyable reads. Not bad for a "minor regional novelist."

Good To Know

A miniseries based on McMurtry's novel Comanche Moon is currently in production. McMurtry co-wrote the script.

The first-printing of McMurtry's novel In a Narrow Grave is one of his most obscure for a rather obscure reason. The book was withdrawn because the word "skyscrapers" was misspelled as "skycrappers" on page 105.

McMurtry comes from a long line of farmers and ranchers. His father and eight of his uncles were all in the profession.

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    1. Hometown:
      Archer City, Texas
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 3, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Wichita Falls, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A., North Texas State University, 1958; M.A., Rice University, 1960. Also studied at Stanford University.

Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    TimeLapse

    TimeLapse looked apalled. "M-me?" She meowed, staring up at ThornStar. "I eh uh bu... Thank you," she meowed, at a loss for words. <p>
    "Shypaw! Shypaw!" She chanted with the others. <br>
    She then went to congradulate RoseThorn. <p>
    &#9812 TimeLapse &#9812

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    GingerFire

    She held her head high. "SHYPAW! TIMELAPSE!"

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    Posted September 7, 2014

    Blueheart

    "SHYPAW SHYPAW SHYPAW!" I chant.

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    Posted September 7, 2014

    SnowLife

    Agres with shadowfur

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    Posted September 7, 2014

    ThornStar~Ceremony

    He gracefully leapt onto the branch, his long legs finding an easy hold. "All cats old enough to catch their own prey gather under the High Branch!" He paused. "Shypaw, please come here. Do you promise to uphold the warrior code, and until you become a warrior, listen attentivly to your mentor?" <br> "I do." said Shypaw breathlessly. <br> "Then by the powers of StarClan, I choose Rosethorn to be your mentor. I hope she will pass on her kindness and wisdom." Shypaw touches his mentor's nose bravely, then stands back. "SHYPAW! SHYPAW!" the cats chant. <br> "And also, for deputy, I have chosen TimeLapse. But," he adds, "if TimeLapse or I are not on, then Goldenheart is co-deputy. Meeting dismissed."

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    Posted September 1, 2014

    Highbranch

    An old dead tree above the leader's den where announcements and ceremonies are preformed.

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    Vultrestar

    Join here!

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