Following on from Elmore Leonard’s Complete Western Stories I decided to give Larry McMurtry a go. Lonesome Dove is one of my Dad’s all time favourite books but I thought I would start with his latest novel which takes on the story of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday no less.
Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday are household names thanks to countless movies depicting their exploits over many decades. But McMurtry takes a very different approach to these two characters of western folklore. McMurtry depicts them as more name than substance and paints them both as deeply flawed men with little redeeming features. Wyatt Earp in particular is portrayed as a drunk, wife-beater and all round recalcitrant. McMurtry’s writing though keeps you entranced and other parallel storylines and characters keep the novel in balance.
I will definitely be checking out Lonesome Dove at some point (i.e. when I am ready to commit to a big book) and continue my western binge. I think Deadwood is definitely due a re-watch.