When the Light Goesby Larry McMurtry
In this masterful and often surprising sequel to the acclaimed Duane's Depressed, the Pulitzer Prize- and Oscar-winning author of Lonesome Dove has written a haunting, elegiac, and occasionally erotic novel about one of his most beloved characters. Duane Moore first made his appearance in The Last Picture Show and, like his author, he has aged but not lost his vigor or his taste for life.
Back from a two-week trip to Egypt, Duane finds he cannot readjust to life in Thalia, the small, dusty, West Texas hometown in which he has spent all of his life. In the short time he was away, it seems that everything has changed alarmingly. His office barely has a reason to exist now that his son Dickie is running the company from Wichita Falls, his lifelong friends seem to have suddenly grown old, his familiar hangout, once a good old-fashioned convenience store, has been transformed into an "Asian Wonder Deli," his daughters seem to have taken leave of their senses and moved on to new and strange lives, and his own health is at serious risk.
It's as if Duane cannot find any solace or familiarity in Thalia and cannot even bring himself to revisit the house he shared for decades with his late wife, Karla, and their children and grandchildren. He spends his days aimlessly riding his bicycle (already a sign of serious eccentricity in West Texas) and living in his cabin outside town. The more he tries to get back to the rhythm of his old life, the more he realizes that he should have left Thalia long ago—indeed everybody he cared for seems to have moved on without him, to new lives or to death.
The only consolation is meeting the young, attractive geologist, Annie Cameron, whom Dickie has hired to work out of the Thalia office. Annie is brazenly seductive, yet oddly cold, young enough to be Duane's daughter, or worse, and Duane hasn't a clue how to handle her. He's also in love with his psychiatrist, Honor Carmichael, who after years of rebuffing him, has decided to undertake what she feels is Duane's very necessary sex reeducation, opening him up to some major, life-changing surprises.
For the lesson of When the Light Goes is that where there's life, there is indeed hope—Duane, widowed, displaced from whatever is left of his own life, suddenly rootless in the middle of his own hometown, and at risk of death from a heart that also doesn't seem to be doing its job, is in the end saved by sex, by love, and by his own compassionate and intense interest in other people and the surprises they reveal.
At once realistic and life-loving, often hilariously funny, and always moving, Larry McMurtry has written one of his finest and most compelling novels to date, doing for Duane what he did so triumphantly for Aurora in Terms of Endearment.
Duane Moore (Duane's Depressed) is back, and he is still depressed. Duane is now a widower with major heart blockage whose west Texas hometown of Thalia is also on its last legs. Family and friends are dead or gone. He has no interest in the family oil business, and the allure of his bicycle-only mode of transportation is fast fading. A trip to Egypt gave Duane some joy, but basically he feels apathetic about life. Such discontent a dull novel makes, so McMurtry spikes Duane's life with a bevy of younger females who throw themselves at him everywhere he goes. The result reads like an old geezer's pillow book, full of graphically rendered sex scenes and fantasies. The fourth entry in the series that McMurtry began with the classic The Last Picture Show(1966), this latest effort will strike many readers as a disappointing coda. An optional purchase. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/15/06.]
Keddy Ann Outlaw
- Simon & Schuster
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- SIMON & SCHUSTER
- NOOK Book
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- 2 MB
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.
- Archer City, Texas
- Date of Birth:
- June 3, 1936
- Place of Birth:
- Wichita Falls, Texas
- B.A., North Texas State University, 1958; M.A., Rice University, 1960. Also studied at Stanford University.
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Very disappointing. I've grown used to settling down with a Larry McMurtry novel for a long, rich read. If you've read the reviews, you've pretty much read the book here. Take out the gratuitous sex and rehashing of previous books, and it could have been an essay. Maybe it should have been combined with the next volume (Rhino Ranch) to make an actual book.
Book 4 in the "Last Picture Show" series This is an epic in the Duane Moore's saga...now 64 he is set for his last hurrah before the lights go out.. This novel is a funny and erotic tale of a man who has aged but has not lost his taste for life. The story opens with Duane back from a trip from Egypt and still wondering if he can find happiness and solace in his hometown. His prospects improve when he meets the young, attractive and seductive Annie Cameron who was hired by his son Dickie to work at the Thalia office..... Another boost for his libido happens when his psychiatrist Honor Carmichael, a person he has the hots for, decides to use sex therapy to stimulate his desires....It works wonders on Duane... ...and the details are comical and entertaining for the reader...I am not going any further....lol This story is written to highlight every old man's fantasy...and reads like an X-rated novel. The only thing driving the characters are their interest in sex and Duane is the lucky man who gets the gorgeous 26 year old virgin and a rump in the sack with a lesbian psychiatrist.. The prose is vivid and the lust is very explicit in its details, not much left to the imagination. Where was the ingenious literary work in this one.... Ok I admit I read every word....but does Duane have a life outside the bedroom. Although Larry McMurtry is a prolific writer and his reputation precedes him, my first experience reading him left me disappointed, nonetheless I plan reading more of his accomplishments to see how diversified a writer he is.
Very good book
I have to agree with Bart. While I could not wait for a new book about Duane and the gang, I can not say it fulfilled my wishes. Still a great read 'what book from McMurtry isn't' I guess just not the ending for Duane I was looking for. Kind of seemed scattered and off the mark. None the less, I appreciate the conclusion. I laughed and cryed with all in the complete series. Many thanks for the books go out to Larry.