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The Last Picture Show (Thalia)

(Part of the The Last Picture Show (#1) Series and Thalia, Texas (#3) Series)

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Book Overview

"McMurtry is an alchemist who converts the basest materials to gold." -- New York Times Book Review The Last Picture Show (1966) is both a rambunctious coming-of-age story and an elegy to a forlorn... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Outstanding

Larry McMurtry is the quintessential author on all things Texas. In the Fall semester of college, 1985, his novel, "The Last Picture Show," was assigned reading in my Literature class. I had never heard about the film version, and I am very glad. I believe this is a novel about good versus evil; only the "evil" here is the righteous, narrow-minded, bigoted, bible-beating, and monotonous, which represses all in its path, and the "good" is the carefree, spirited, reckless, and adventurous, which is supposed to lead all to happiness. The only problem is in 1951 Thalia, Texas, the "good" was still supposed to be taboo; hence the conflicts for this great novel. McMurtry tells this tale with humor, drama, and warmth. The things that make us human are worthwhile, even if others do not condone them. For most in this story, sex and love are the things that they believe make their lives worthwhile, but for Billy, the mentally challenged friend of Sonny, sweeping is what made him human. In the end, only Sonny could see this tragedy of his death while the "evil" spat and farted in the wind making excuses for the tragedy. This novel moved me, and I have read it several times. I highly recommend it.

The Last Picture Show - Brutally Honest and Masterfully Written.

Great writers write about what they know and the places they know. It's not a surprise that McMurtry sets so many of his stories in Texas. But that does not lessen the universality of his stories. The Last Picture Show is simply the best coming of age story about growing up in north america ever written. This book is written in a clean direct style. Some may feel that in order to be termed "great literature" a book has to have a wordy and complex style. But to me, the greatest literature is that which most clearly cuts to the essence of what makes its characters human. Those are the characters we relate to in literature. And this book is loaded with them. In fact it's almost frightening the way McMurtry gets inside the heads of these kids. You are bound to cringe at least once remembering the times you made the exact same mistakes as these kids. I don't think this type of amazing story-telling is unique to this novel. Terms of Endearment is an incredible novel and seems to have not been mentioned by most other reviewers. Of course Lonesome Dove is bound to have admirers as well. In all, this is a great novel that is simple on the surface but has layers of complex undertones for those willing to explore them. As a coming of age story, this is one of my favorites. Enjoy.

Brutally honest and masterfully written.

Great writers write about what they know and the places they know. It's not a surprise that McMurtry sets so many of his stories in Texas. But that does not lessen the universality of his stories. The Last Picture Show is simply the best coming of age story about growing up in post-vietnam north america ever written.This book is written in a clean direct style. Some may feel that in order to be termed "great literature" a book has to have a wordy and complex style. But to me, the greatest literature is that which most clearly cuts to the essence of what makes its characters human. Those are the characters we relate to in literature. And this book is loaded with them.In fact it's almost frightening the way McMurtry gets inside the heads of these kids. If you remember anything about growing up you are bound to cringe at least once remembering the time you made the mistake of thinking exactly what one of these kids did.I don't think this type of amazing story-telling is unique to this novel. Terms of Endearment is an incredible book and seems to have not been mentioned by most other reviewers. Of course Lonesome Dove is bound to have admirers as well.In all, this is a great novel that is simple on the surface but has layers of complex undertones for those willing to explore them.

One of the best of its kind

Larry McMurtry, probably America's most uneven 'great' writer, produced at least one masterpiece of contemporary storytelling, The Last Picture Show. This book is so true to its time and place, so honest in its language and its character's actions, that one comes to feel that these are real people that one has known - and maybe loved - for a long time. The story is so direct and the characters are so simple and ordinary that the emotional empact of the book comes as some surprise. One doesn't expect that the stuff of great emotional intensity could be built on such a prosaic foundation.All of McMurtry's really good books have been turned into better than average cinema. I think it's a toss up as to whether the movie or the book is better in this case, but there can be no question that the book is an American classic and will be read with pleasure (and tears) by generations.Now, if we could just keep him from bad sequels - like Texasville . . .

This is the book to read if you enjoyed "Lonesome Dove".

"The Last Picture Show" is undoubtedly one of Larry McMurtry's finest novels. Set in a small town on the barren North Central plains of 1950's Texas, this beautifully told coming-of-age story captures the dual spirit of the blind hopefulness and hard reality that are such a part of growing up. Only McMurtry could deliver such a brilliant cast of characters who are as equally eccentric as they are ultimately tragic. This coming-of-age story flows wonderfully against the vast and desolate backdrop we know as the state of Texas in a time when the wide-open ranges and cowboys of legend had given-way to the barbed-wire and oil derricks that had come to take their place. This is vintage McMurtry. If you enjoyed "Lonesome Dove", you'll certainly enjoy "The Last Picture Show"
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