Folly and Glory (Berrybender Narratives Series #4)

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Overview

"As this finale opens, Tasmin and her family are under irksome, though comfortable, arrest in Mexican Santa Fe. Her father, the eccentric Lord Berrybender, is planning to head for Texas with his whole family and his retainers, English, American and Native American. Tasmin, who would once have followed her husband, Jim Snow, anywhere, is no longer even sure she likes him, or knows where to go next. Neither does anyone else - even Captain Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, is puzzled by the great changes sweeping over the West, replacing red men and
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Folly and Glory (Berrybender Narratives Series #4)

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Overview

"As this finale opens, Tasmin and her family are under irksome, though comfortable, arrest in Mexican Santa Fe. Her father, the eccentric Lord Berrybender, is planning to head for Texas with his whole family and his retainers, English, American and Native American. Tasmin, who would once have followed her husband, Jim Snow, anywhere, is no longer even sure she likes him, or knows where to go next. Neither does anyone else - even Captain Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, is puzzled by the great changes sweeping over the West, replacing red men and buffalo with towns and farms." "In the meantime Jim Snow, accompanied by Kit Carson, journeys to New Orleans, where he meets up with a muscular black giant named Juppy, who turns out to be one of Lord Berrybender's many illegitimate offspring, and in whose company they make their way back to Santa Fe. But even they are unable to prevent the Mexicans from carrying the Berrybender family on a long and terrible journey across the desert to Vera Cruz." Starving, dying of thirst, and in constant, bloody battle with slavers pursuing them, the Berrybenders finally make their way to civilization - if New Oreleans of the time can be called that - where Jim Snow has to choose between Tasmin and the great American plains, on which he has lived all this life in freedom, and where, after all her adventures, Tasmin must finally decide where her future lies.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Larry McMurtry's four-volume series, The Berrybender Narratives, is like a cross between John Ford and Quentin Tarantino: a genre-bending Western farce that follows the misadventures and couplings of a sprawling English family and its hangers-on as it makes its roundabout way across the West in the 1830's...While McMurtry doesn't stint on frantic action, violence or seemingly round-the-clock gropings, Folly and Glory marks a somber and satisfying end to a long, rambunctious trip.—Rodney Welch
Publishers Weekly
This is the fourth and final volume in McMurtry's Berrybender Narratives (following By Sorrow's River), a frontier epic of lusty and bloody proportions, in which, fortunately, nearly everyone is killed off. Lord Berrybender, an arrogant and lecherous Englishman and his whining brood of daughters, their brats and servants have been arrested by Mexican authorities and are under house arrest in Santa Fe in the mid-1830s. Tensions between Mexicans and Americans run high as the dispute over Texas drifts toward war. When the Berrybender party is expelled from Santa Fe, the group is forced to march across the desert to Vera Cruz, escorted by inept Mexican soldiers. The grueling journey is filled with hardship and death as thirst, cholera and hostile Indians whittle the group by half. Meanwhile, Jim Snow, aka the Sin Killer, a famous mountain man, plans to rescue his white wife, Tasmin Berrybender, and her family somewhere along the desert route. Once the rescue is complete and the surviving Berrybenders are safely in Texas, Jim goes after the gang of slavers who murdered his son and his Indian wife (mountain men seem to have a lot of wives). Here McMurtry really shows why Jim is called the Sin Killer and why white men and Indians fear the mountain man who shrieks "the Word" and shows no mercy when he is riled up. Of the four books in the series, this is the bloodiest and most brutal, with rapes, torture, mutilation and death heaped upon the characters until grief and despair nearly consume them. Add the disaster at the Alamo and a passel of colorful Texas heroes to the enduring figures of mountain men Kit Carson and Tom Fitzpatrick, and this grisly frontier soap opera concludes with a bang. (May) Forecast: Reader opinions are mixed on the blackly comic Berrybender series, and McMurtry may have lost some readers along the way, but this strong wind-up should sell solidly. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The wonderful actor Alfred Molina reads what is mercifully the final installment of the four-part "Berrybender Narratives." At the close of By Sorrow's River, the increasingly disgusting Lord Berrybender, his irritatingly whiny daughters, and the rest of the entourage were under house arrest in Santa Fe. It is the mid-1830s, and tensions between the Mexicans and Americans are heating up as the dispute over Texas heads toward war. When the Berrybenders are expelled from Santa Fe and forced to cross the desert without food, their disasters multiply to the point that the listener will shudder from all the mutilations, rapes, tortures, starvation, and slow deaths from thirst. This epic is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is always a pleasure to hear the words of one of our premier writers read by one of our premier actors. Recommended for public libraries.-Barbara Perkins, Sachse P.L., TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lord Berrybender's epic four-year hunting trip through the unsettled West comes to a wistful close. Under comfortable house arrest in Santa Fe, McMurtry's large cast of peers, painters, trappers, priests, Indians, and the crop of infants who have replaced the many characters left dead on the deserts and by the many tributaries of the Missouri await rescue and relief. Everyone is edgy in this most remote reach of the rickety Mexican republic. Lady Tasmin, the improbable but appealing eldest daughter of the boozy earl is in black despair following the death of her reticent lover Pompey Charbonneau, son of Sacagawea. (Yes, that Sacagawea.) Were it not for the loving ministrations of Little Onion, Tasmin's sort-of-in-law, her husband's Indian wife, Tasmin's son Monty and the twins Petey and Petal would have no emotional home. Tasmin has no emotional room for anything. Not even her husband Jim when he returns. Her sister Buffum worries constantly about her Indian husband High Shoulders, who is on the Mexicans' most-wanted list. Tasmin's stepmother and friend Vicky, the cellist and former mistress to Lord Berrybender seethes as Lord B. cavorts with a voracious but deeply blue-blooded 16-year-old. Only little Petal seems untouched by the provincial malaise. Petal is truly her mother's daughter. Impetuous, brilliant, bossy, demanding, and precocious, the pretty child steals everything her twin brother might want and demands her mother's full attention and, if possible, devotion. She's unimpressed by her father when he returns, but they eventually bond. Suddenly the great caravan lurches into motion again. The governor's governors have ordered the removal of the party to old Mexico, where everyonewill be held hostage for dealings with the soon-to-rebel Texans. Their resumed odyssey brings horrible deaths to both family and retainers from cholera, slavers, and indigenous tribes, and as the Republic of Texas rises, the great adventure winds down. A fitting end to McMurtry's odd but wise saga of Old Europe in the New World (By Sorrow's River, 2003, etc.).
From the Publisher
"In this tale of the exploration, and exploitation, of the West, McMurtry is telling us something about our checkered past — and perhaps about our uncertain present."
People

"Like a cross between John Ford and Quentin Tarantino: a genre-bending Western farce that follows the misadventures and couplings of a sprawling English family and its hangers-on as it makes its roundabout way across the West in the 1830s."
The New York Times

"McMurtry hits the bull's eye...to make readers eyewitnesses to the crucial decade in which the West was both won and ruined."
San Antonio (Texas) Express-News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743451444
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Series: Berrybender Narratives Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.70 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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.

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Very enjoyable

    I enjoyed the stories very much and I am patiently waiting for series 5 & 6 of the Berrybender novels. Thankyou Russ Punt.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2008

    the best of the four books

    I have committed myself to the Berrybenders and the Sin Killer for four books. At times, I barely liked any of the characters, but stuck with it nonethless. I am glad I did. By book four, there is real character growth with most of the characters. And it is heartwrenching as well. Definitely the best of the four books...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2004

    Great Book... Not So Great Ending

    Wonderful and eccentric like all the Berrybender Narratives. Fun and interesting. The ending leaves much to be desired. Sad and heartbreaking for me.

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    Posted August 6, 2011

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    Posted July 26, 2011

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