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From Barnes & NobleLarry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove, sets out to "reread" his favorite roads through a series of explorations on America's great highways. A combination of travel essays, personal history, literary historiography, and soul searching, Roads is a fantastic, contemplative read.
The premise of Roads is a recounting of several thousand-mile-plus journeys McMurtry takes around America in 1999. "My method, to the extent that I have one, is modeled on rereading; I want to reread some of the roads as I might a book," he writes. It's perfect that this bibliophile uses this metaphor to explain his desire to explore America’s highways and byways.
A man born to a long line of cowboys and farmers, McMurtry feels a profound connection to land and places. And as a writer, reader, and book connoisseur, McMurtry feels a similarly intense connection to places that inspire authors, or places where different works of literature are set. "As a rule, I'm not much inclined to pilgrimage, literary or otherwise," McMurtry writes, but that statement is only half true. McMurtry may not be inclined to pilgrimage, but Roads does read like the road trip version of a literary pub crawl. McMurtry's road trips are very much a retracing of steps and the written word. They're also an opportunity for McMurtry to get in touch with himself. Although he says early on in the book that he's not interested in finding himself, nor is he running from or towards something (as is so often the motivation of travelers). He is interested in giving himself the opportunity to muse, mull, and reflect on who he is, where he's been, what he's seen, and what he'd like to do. McMurtry ends his road tripping by leaving the reader with the types of soul-searching questions that signify a man about to embark on a new beginning. I can hardly wait for his next work to get a sense of what the answers might be.
Freelancer Emily Burg is based New York.