The Evening Star

The Evening Star

3.8 5
by Larry McMurtry
     
 

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Larry McMurtry’s Terms of Endearment touched readers in a way no other story has in recent years. The earthy humor and the powerful emotional impact that set this novel apart rise to brilliant new heights with The Evening Star.

McMurtry takes us deep into the heart of Texas, and deep into the heart of one of the most memorable characters of

Overview

Larry McMurtry’s Terms of Endearment touched readers in a way no other story has in recent years. The earthy humor and the powerful emotional impact that set this novel apart rise to brilliant new heights with The Evening Star.

McMurtry takes us deep into the heart of Texas, and deep into the heart of one of the most memorable characters of our time, Aurora Greenway—along with her family, friends, and lovers—in a tale of affectionate wit, bittersweet tenderness, and the unexpected turns that life can take. This is Larry McMurtry at his very best: warm, compassionate, full of comic invention, an author so attuned to the feelings, needs, and desires of his characters that they possess a reality unique in American fiction.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The New York Times Book Review Works very well...The reader [is] in the hands of a real pro.

Entertainment Weekly McMurtry is back on familiar ground: the humid freeways of Houston, land of strong-willed, lusty, indomitable women and the spineless men who inevitably fail them....Endlessly inventive.

Chicago Tribune A tragicomic pageant...McMurtry displays yet again both his large-souled empathy and Dickensian gift for bringing people to vibrant life as quickly as anyone writing today.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution In Aurora Greenway, Mr. McMurtry has created an unsinkable character as memorable in many ways as Scarlett O'Hara.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Old age and death catch up with characters familiar to readers since from Terms of Endearment in this often tedious sequel, a two-week PW bestseller and a Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club featured alternate in cloth. (Apr.)
Library Journal
McMurtry's latest novel picks up Aurora Greenway's life 17 years after her exploits in Terms of Endearment . Now in her mid-60s, Aurora still manages to both enchant and infuriate with her queenly world view and unswerving tastes, including a perpetual quest for new beaux. The capricious, generally directionless characters lead lives fraught with whimsy but also with sorrow, a sense of time escaping before life's real purpose is revealed. The cast includes General Scott, Aurora's increasingly senile ``old boyfriend''; her maid and best friend, Rosie; her three grown grandchildren, all slightly damaged in some central way; as well as a variety of suitors. The connections between people in this novel, characterized by humor and serenity, run deep and sympathetic. Yet, as in life, there is a fair quotient of the unexpected and the tragic. McMurtry speaks from the heart with the gentle voice of acceptance. Don't miss this rare and wonderful book. Highly recommended for all audiences. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/92.--Marilyn Jordan, Keiser Coll. Lib., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Kirkus Reviews
Part Two of the amorous adventures of Aurora Greenway, the high-spirited heroine of Terms of Endearment (1975). Aurora and her faithful maid/best-friend Rosie are pushing 70 ("late middle age"), living together in Aurora's Houston home. Aurora's daughter Emma, who died of cancer, left three kids, all emotional cripples, despite Aurora's efforts. Tommy is a murderer, doing time for shooting his ex-girlfriend; Teddy, sweet but fragile, lives with Jane (they met in a mental hospital) and their baby son Bump; Melanie, a college dropout, is pregnant by her ex- boyfriend. All Aurora's beaus are dead, except for General Hector Scott, her live-in lover; but the octogenarian General is now impotent, and Aurora's flirtation with Pascal, a diminutive Frenchman, has not sweetened his temper. Aurora decides they should go for therapy together, and she soon seduces their "seriously attractive" therapist, Jerry Bruckner—not for an affair but simply "to get laid," as she tells Jerry upfront. For Aurora, to her surprise, is consumed by lust. She and Hector have discovered the golden years are far more messy than serene; sex is Aurora's way of resisting "the downward curve of life" and keeping herself in the mainstream. Her fling with Jerry is good news for the reader, too, since it liberates Aurora from the brittle sitcom routines involving her, Rosie, Hector, and Pascal, and provides something of substance at the center. That aside, McMurtry's freshest writing is about the kids (Tommy in the joint, Melanie in Hollywood, Teddy in a m‚nage … trois with Jane's girlfriend), and his most portentous is about Aurora's final days, consoling herself with a brand-new great-grandson and the Brahms Requiem.McMurtry's celebration of the life force in an inhospitable world has just enough kick to keep you interested, but his uncertain handling (vaudeville or tragicomedy?) keeps you from full involvement; also, it's way too long.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684857510
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
06/04/1999
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
640
Sales rank:
662,984
Product dimensions:
5.22(w) x 8.03(h) x 1.34(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
On their monthly visits to the prison, Aurora drove going and Rosie drove home. That was the tradition, and there was good reason for it: seeing her grandson behind bars, being reminded yet again that he had killed a woman, realizing that in all likelihood she would be seeing him only in such circumstances for the rest of her life, left Aurora far too shaken to be trusted at the wheel of a car — particularly the sputtery old Cadillac she refused to trade in. Aurora managed the Cadillac erratically under the best of circumstances, and visiting Tommy in prison could not be called the best of circumstances.
Rosie and everyone else who knew Aurora felt sure the Cadillac would be the death of her someday, but it would not have been wise to reiterate this fear on the return trip from Huntsville, when Aurora would have been only too happy to die on the spot.
Aurora, in the midst of a bitter fit of sobbing, nonetheless reached up and twisted the rearview mirror her way, in order to regard her own despair. It was an old habit: when sorrow beset her, as it now did regularly, she often grabbed the nearest mirror, hoping, through vanity alone, to arrest it in its course before it did her too much damage.
This time it didn't work, not merely because she was crying so hard she couldn't see herself at all, but because Rosie — a woman so short she could barely see the traffic in front of her, much less that which she knew to be in pursuit, immediately grabbed the mirror and twisted it back.
"Don't do that, hon, I got to have my mirror!" Rosie said, panicked because she heard the sound of a huge truck bearing down on them, but lacked a clue as to exactly how close it might be.
"There's an eighteen-wheeler after us — if that sucker ran over us we'd be squished like soup in a can," she added, wishing they were in Conroe, so perhaps Aurora would quit crying, shaking, and scattering wet Kleenex around.
The prison where Tommy was doing fifteen years to life was in Huntsville, Texas. Conroe, Texas, thirty-two miles to the south, down an Interstate rife with eighteen-wheelers, was the nearest point at which Aurora could reasonably be expected to regain control of her emotions. Until then, all Rosie could do was stay out of the fast lane and drive for dear life.
"I just wish you'd do something I ask you for once in your life and buy us a Datsun pickup," Rosie said. "We'd stand a lot better chance on this racetrack if we had a vehicle I could see out of."
To her relief she noticed the eighteen-wheeler sliding smoothly past them on her left.
Aurora didn't respond. Her mind was back with Tommy, the pale, calm boy in the prison. He had always been the brightest of her dead daughter's three children. His grades had never been less than excellent, unlike those of her other grandchildren, Teddy and Melanie, both such erratic scholars that it was hardly even fair to use the word "scholar" when referring to their academic careers.
"We're almost to Conroe," Rosie said unwisely, hoping it might cause Aurora to stop crying a little sooner than usual.
"Who gives a fuck where we are!" Aurora yelled, flaring up for a moment before crying a fresh flood.
Rosie was so shocked she almost rear-ended a white Toyota suburban. Only three or four times in their long acquaintance had she heard her employer use that particular word.
Shortly after they sped past the first Conroe exit, Aurora calmed a little.
"Rosie, I'm not a robot," she said. "I do not have to stop crying just because we happen to be passing Conroe."
"I wish I hadn't brought it up," Rosie said. "I wish I hadn't never been born. But most of all I wish we had a Datsun pickup — the seat of this car is so old it's sinking in, and if it sinks in much farther I won't be able to see anything but the speedometer. Then an eighteen-wheeler will probably run over us and squish us like soup in a can."
"This car is not a can and we will not be squished like soup," Aurora declared, sniffing. "You've chosen a bad figure."
"Yeah, I was always flat-chested, but I didn't choose it, God did it to me," Rosie said, thinking it odd that Aurora would mention her lifelong flat-chestedness at such a time.
"Oh, figure of speech, I meant," Aurora said. "Of course you didn't choose your bosom. What I meant to point out is that there's nothing souplike about either one of us. If you get squished, it'll be like a French fry, which is what you resemble."
Aurora felt no better, but she did feel cried out, and she began to mop her cheeks with a wad of Kleenex. She had already scattered several wet wads on the seat. She gathered these up, compressed them into one sopping mess, and threw the mess out the window.
"Hon, you oughtn't to litter," Rosie admonished. "There's signs all up and down this highway saying don't mess with Texas."
"I'll mess with it all I want to," Aurora said. "It's certainly messed enough with me."
When her vision cleared a bit more, she noticed that a stream of cars and trucks was flowing past them. Looking back, she saw with alarm that a very large truck seemed to be practically pushing them.
"Rosie, are you going the correct speed?" she asked. "We're not exactly leading the pack."
"I'm going fifty-five," Rosie said.
"Then no wonder that truck just behind us has such an impatient aspect," Aurora said. "I tell you every time we come here that the legal speed is now sixty-five, not fifty-five. You had better put the pedal to the metal, if that is the correct expression."
"The pedal's to the metal, otherwise we wouldn't be moving at all," Rosie said. "Why do you think I been bugging you about a Datsun pickup? I could push the pedal through the radiator and this old whale wouldn't go more than fifty-five. Besides, the speed limit's only fifty-five when you're going through a town, and we're going through Conroe."
"Don't be pedantic when I'm sad," Aurora said. "Just try to go a little faster."
Rosie, in a daring maneuver, attempted to pass the sluggish white Toyota just as a truck behind them pulled out to pass them. The driver honked, and Rosie instantly whipped her arm out the window and gave him the finger. Then, not appeased, she actually stuck her head out the window, turned it, and glared at the truck driver.
Unimpressed, the truck driver honked again, while Rosie, pedal to the metal, inched grimly past the white suburban.
"Well, you don't lack spunk — you never have or I'd have squished you myself," Aurora said.
The trucker, perhaps annoyed, perhaps amused, began to tap his horn every few seconds, and Rosie — definitely not amused — stuck her arm out the window and left it there, with her middle finger extended for his benefit.
The sight of her maid sustaining a rude gesture while virtually beneath the wheels of a giant truck made Aurora laugh. A vagrant bubble of mirth rose unexpectedly from inside her, but she had no more than started a little peal when sorrow came back in a flood and overran amusement, just as her Cadillac seemed about to be overrun by the eighteen-wheeler.
"I hope it kills us, then this will be over!" she cried, as she was crying.
"I'm from Bossier City, and I ain't about to be bullied by no truck," Rosie said. She calculated that she now had at least a three-or-four-inch lead on the Toyota and was nerving up to make her cut to the right.
When Aurora calmed for the second time they were well down the road past the airport exit — she could see the skyscrapers of downtown Houston through the summer haze.
"I can no longer laugh without beginning to cry," she reported, rolling down her window. She proceeded to mess with Texas to the extent of another fifteen or twenty Kleenex.
"You wasn't really laughing, you was just mainly crying," Rosie said.
Copyright © 1992 by Larry McMurtry

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
The New York Times Book Review Works very well...The reader [is] in the hands of a real pro.

Entertainment Weekly McMurtry is back on familiar ground: the humid freeways of Houston, land of strong-willed, lusty, indomitable women and the spineless men who inevitably fail them....Endlessly inventive.

Chicago Tribune A tragicomic pageant...McMurtry displays yet again both his large-souled empathy and Dickensian gift for bringing people to vibrant life as quickly as anyone writing today.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution In Aurora Greenway, Mr. McMurtry has created an unsinkable character as memorable in many ways as Scarlett O'Hara.

Meet the Author

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.

Brief Biography

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

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Evening Star 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In The Evening Star, Larry McMurtry continues the stories of Aurora Greenway, Patsy carpenter, and Rosie. Emma, Aurora's daughter, has died at the end of Terms of Endearment, and Emma's children are grown up. McMurtry is a master at creating unforgettable characters, and Aurora greenway is one of his most memorable. She has a way of controlling every situation she is in, and her comments and reflections are life often come right out of left field. In this novel, she and her maid, Rosey, move from employer and employee to friends and confidantes, and Patsy carpenter, first introduced to readers in Moving On and a close friend of Emma's, proves to be a worthy adversary of Aurora's as they both are interested in Jerry, the somewhat shallow but attractive therapist. This is not a book to read if you are interested only in fast-moving plots and suspenseful situations, but if you want to meet characters that you may never forget, then I suggest you get to this book right away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Evening Star, is the sequel to Larry McMurtry's bestselling novel, Terms Of Endearment. The Evening Star takes place years later, after the main character Aurora Greenways' daughter, Emma, has died of cancer. The novel focuses on Aurora's relationships with men, and how Emmas' now grown children were affected by her death. Overall, the novel was okay. It was too long of a book to read and there were some unecessary details that didn't belong there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There was a pretty big gap in between my reading of Terms of Endearment and The Evening Star. I actually was a little worried I may have forgotten some of the more important plotlines from the first book, but decided to go ahead and start the sequel. I honestly didn't think it could be better than the first one (how often does that happen, anyway?) But, Mr. McMurty, being superb at bringing his characters to life, proved me wrong. One of the better parts of 'Terms' to me had been the different family members storylines, and 'Evening Star' just expands on that. More characters, more touching scenes, and definitely more comedy. If anything, Rosie (Aurora's lifelong maid and friend) becomes more vivid, as close to life-like as a written character can become. I had seen the movie before hand, so I, of course, was expecting certain things to happen. But, the book was certainly better in that no punches were pulled. General Hector Scott's bouts with flashing, we learn a much different fate for Jerry Bruckner (Aurora's love interest and psychiatrist), and there's Aurora's endless string of suitors. I strongly suggest you pick this book up if you enjoyed the first one, or liked wither of the movies. Aurora Greenway is one of the characters that will never fade from memory, she's that little sarcastic voice, well loved, in the back of our heads. Do me a favor, every once in a while, let that voice out, would you?