Towse: views from the hill

August 12, 2010

McMurtry memoirs disappoint

Filed under: books,people — Towse @ 11:04 am

I was disappointed in the book the-ladies-who-read chose for this month’s reading: Books: a memoir by Larry McMurtry. Oh, I wasn’t disappointed when we chose it. I was, after all, the person who had come up with the list of about six titles we chose from. I’d even read the first pages that Amazon offers before I added it to the list. Seemed like a readable memoir from a writer I wanted to know more about.

First pages can be misleading.

For someone who writes fiction so well — Pulitzer Prize winning Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment, Horseman, Pass By (the book that became the movie Hud), Last Picture Show, and many more — his book seemed a tedious conglom of memories written on 3×5 cards and then reshuffled for coherence. Each card was then expanded a tad to fill a very short (one- or two- pages usually) chapter. The memoir consisted of a rare few noteworthy bits of gleam caught up in a tubload of mud.

Not to be dissuaded (and because I’d picked up the book when I was down at the Mechanics Institute Library to pick up Books), I continued on with the second in his trio of memoirs. The first of the trio covered his book selling/book seeking yen. Yesterday I finished Literary Life: a second memoir, which covered his memories of life as a writer. Although marginally better than BOOKS, the prose was still pedestrian, the stories colorless. Surely this man must tell a good story at a party. Why can’t he translate that into prose?

Hollywood: a third memoir, which covers his days in Hollywood and his life as a screenwriter, came out Wednesday. I’m not going to bother. …

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