It's been a long road, but all good things have to come to an end. So we are treated to the adventures of Duane Moore, as his life is nearing its end. And what a bizarre time it is in Thalia, Texas. A billionairess decides to import the vanishing black rhino from Africa on a spread near the town, in an effort to save the species and perhaps establish a tourist attraction. Of course, the insular people of Thalia look askance at outsiders, and Duane's friendliness with the sponsor of Rhino Ranch does not serve him very well in the closing days of his life. The novel, full of pathos and nostalgia, as Duane looks over his past days, contemplates the changes in Duane's little world, as well as the broader world as well. It's full of wit and philosophizing, and whimsically reflects upon the humor and romantic relationships inherent in the series. One does not have to report on the writing, observations and plotting by Larry McMurtry: These elements are always top grade, and "Rhino Ranch" is no exception. Highly recommended.
"Small town people almost never mind their own business.Gossip is one of the things that keeps them
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 13 years ago
This is the 5th novel in this series that started with "The Last Picture Show" in 1966.It is quite short,only 278 pages,with a lot of blank space and broken up into 68 Chapters.It follows pretty much the format we saw in "When The Light Goes" (see my review on that posted on March 8,2007).The story has been aptly covered in other Reviews,so there is not much reason for my repeating it. I have read almost all of McMurtry's books ,and while they are very different,I have enjoyed them all and continue to be delighted when a new one appears.Though I imagine most of McMurtry's loyal fans first became acquainted with him through "Lonesome Dove";I first became a fan after reading "Cadillac Jack". I have really enjoyed the "Duane" novels as much as any of them;and probably because I read them in "order" and was always surprised when a "new" one appeared;having thought that there would be no more of them. Now ,once again,it appears that McMurtry has written the final chapter on Duane,;but there are two old sayings that you must keep in mind with McMurtry. "It ain't over 'til it's over." as Yogi Berra reminds us, or "It isn't over 'til the fat lady sings her song." In this novel,McMurtry introduces a few new characters to Thalia;but they seem only to come into and exit Duane's long life experiences as he approaches his twilight years.While he gets involved with them,there are no lasting relationships;just people to pass his time with.None of them have any enduring impact on Duane.I guess what McMurtry is trying to get across to us is that our personality and character are cast in our early adult years;and life experiences and people who come into our later lives leave us pretty much unchanged. In this final chapter of Duane's life;Mc Murtry dispels the idea that"The only difference between us this year and last year,is the people we meet and the books we read.". McMurtry never really seems to be able to let things go completely;and I for one,would not be surprised in the least ,if he revisits Thalia again with another novel.After all,Thalia will go on,and McMurtry can still write another story about it;but it will hardly be the same with Duane gone. If you thought McMurtry was finished writing about books;look what he did;wrote another one,"Books". McMurtry reminds me of that old TV Series,"The Naked City"--it had a million stories to tell. Thanks for another great book Larry,keep them coming,I'm sure you have more good ones;and don't turn to"laying a trot line";it can be a killer.
All Good Things Must Pass
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 14 years ago
Killing off a beloved character, in this case Duane Moore who first appeared in McMurtry's THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, is no easy task. That's particularly true when readers have been granted access to such private family matters as substance abuse, the death of a spouse in a car wreck, divorce and depression throughout the Moore saga ending with Rhino Ranch. After Picture Show (1966), the books in the series include TEXASVILLE : A Novel, Duane's Depressed : A Novel, and When the Light Goes: A Novel. They should definitely be read in sequence to be fully appreciated, as each resolves some issues of the previous one while leaving plenty unresolvable. In my opinion, McMurtry handles this paradox brilliantly with his final Duane Moore novel, set yet again in the fictional town of Thalia, Texas. Rhino Ranch contains some of the most humorous dialogue McMurtry has produced to date, coming at the reader in totally unexpected scenes such as when an old female friend breaks the news to Duane that she's dying of cancer. Several of his old friends are beginning to die off, which Duane handles by doing pretty much whatever he feels like doing. But it would be too much and too easy to claim that it doesn't affect him: "It's Duane," Bobby Lee said. "Look at him. He's walking again, like he used to back when he was losing his mind." Like most of the books set in Thalia, the town and Duane are moving in opposite directions. Thalia's inhabitants never fully welcome newcomers, and don't have a difficult time disengaging from those natives of an independent mind like Duane. He has no particularly strong bonds with his children, which he'd likely care a great deal more about if they were less lazy and selfish about the relationships. As anyone who has ever had a threatening condition (cancer, cardiac, depression) can tell you, the prison of living through it is followed closely by the fear of having it revisit itself on you. And in this book, with Duane in advanced years and beginning to feel "unnecessary," he reflects on it often. While not without his faults, Duane has many likable qualities. McMurtry gives him the break he deserves when he describes the building of a strong relationship between Duane and his grandson, Willy. It's a relationship that brings the somewhat dysfunctional Moore family full circle and allows Duane to check out gracefully, with the knowledge that the Moore family name will thrive a couple of generations hence.
Poignant, Humorous and Touching
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 14 years ago
The sovereign state of Texas was recently in the news when Governor Rick Perry announced that Texans might want to consider invoking a little known provision of statehood and elect to secede from the United States. Down in Archer City, Texas, author Larry McMurtry hopefully had a good chuckle and was inspired to start jotting down some notes for a new series of Lone Star State-themed novels. McMurtry is the chronicler of all things Texas. In LONESOME DOVE and its literary progeny, he wrote of frontier Texas before it joined the Union. The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1986 and introduced readers to Texas Rangers Augustus McRae and Woodrow Call. A series of sequels focused on life in the American West before the Civil War. RHINO RANCH is McMurtry's final installment in his modern Texas saga. This series began with the publication of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW in 1966, and introduced readers to Thalia, Texas and Duane Moore. In between these bookend novels, McMurtry visited the oil patch town of Thalia and its citizens in TEXASVILLE, DUANE'S DEPRESSED and WHEN THE LIGHT GOES. Some may be reluctant to pick up a book after being advised that it marks the conclusion of a series. But each of the novels in McMurtry's series can be read independently. You will learn enough about the characters to enjoy RHINO RANCH. Perhaps as I was, you will be inspired after reading one installment to go back to where it all began. Last week, while visiting a used bookstore, I picked up my own copy of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. Soon I will start the Moore saga at the beginning. When readers last encountered Duane Moore, he had overcome the death of his wife and remarried. Unfortunately for Duane, his second marriage has not gone well. With his geologist wife travelling around the world, Duane returns to Thalia and to Moore Drilling, the business he founded that's now run by his son. Duane's travels, coupled with his quirkiness, have estranged him from the Thalia community, and he must deal with being a stranger in the only home he has really ever known. Thalia has now become the home of a sanctuary for African black rhinos. A Texas-sized ranch of 120,000 acres has been constructed by K.K. Slater, a Texas billionairess. K.K. and Duane strike up a somewhat unusual relationship as he and other Thalia denizens attempt to come to grips with the invasion of exotic animals in the midst of a cattle and oil community. Many of the characters introduced in previous Thalia episodes return in RHINO RANCH. Duane's pals, Boyd Cotton and Bobby Lee Baxter, serve as security officers on the ranch. They spend a great deal of their time seated in an observation tower following rhinos and reporting fires set by local meth dealers as they cook their product in the Thalia hinterlands. Duane's family is also an important part of the novel. Son Dickie runs Moore Drilling but seems to have little time for his father, except to attempt to keep him away from the business. Duane'
Glad McMurtry gave us More
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 14 years ago
Out of all the characters McMurtry has created; for me, Duane Moore is one of the most memorable. Since the decade of the sixties I have read about Duane and can't help but feel a little reader remorse because of his passing. I am one of those avid fans mentioned in the editorials and probably biased becuase of it. That said, I am very grateful that the author decided to give us more and not end the saga with When the Light Goes. This read is much better than the last and a fitting end to character that has held my interest for decades. Of all of the (Moore) books...The Last Picture Show, Texasville, Duanes Depressed, When the Light Goes and Rhino Ranch, my favorite was Duanes Depressed, but they are all good. I wish the saga could go on, but I'm afraid that McMurtry may have given us the last of Thalia. That is the sad part for me, but I very much enjoyed this read.
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