Texasville

by Larry McMurtry

Hardcover, 1987

Collection

Description

The brilliant sequel to The Last Picture Show is McMurtry's richest novel to date, as moving as Terms of Endearment and as full of real and memorable characters as Lonesome Dove. Texasville crackles with energy, humor and passion.--Washington Post Book World.

Rating

(138 ratings; 3.6)

User reviews

LibraryThing member rocketjk
It is the 1980s, and the small Texas oil town, Thalia, which we first visited in Larry McMurtry's [The Last Picture Show], is reeling from the OPEC-driven crash in oil prices. We see the town through the eyes of Duane Moore, also the protagonist of Picture Show. Moore owns the small, local oil company that until recently has employed a good many of the town's citizens and kept the Thalia economy humming. Now, as oil prices keep falling and the bottom falls out of the recent boom, he faces bankruptcy and the town faces economic disaster. Sounds pretty grim, but this book is in fact a dark comedy, as the town, unhinged by these developments, becomes whackier and whackier. Duane's family is nuts, his friends are going nuts, and the preparations for the town's Centennial Celebration, of which Duane is chairman, grow more contentious and ever more absurd.

McMurtry puts it this way:

"{Duane} had never supposed that people really lived as they ought to live, but he had gone through much of his life at least believing there was a way they ought to live. And Thalia of all places--a modest small town--ought to be a place where people lived as they ought to live, allowing for a normal margin of human error. Surely, in Thalia, far removed from big-city temptations, people ought to be living on the old model--putting their families and neighbors first, leading more or less orderly, more or less responsible lives.

But he knew almost everyone in Thalia--indeed, knew more than he wanted to know about most of them--and it was clear from what he knew that the old model had been shattered. The arrival of money cracked the model; it's departure shattered it. Irrationality now bloomed as prolifically as broom weeds in a wet year."


Duane's confusion and despondency grow, as his wife seems disappointed in every word out of his mouth and his marriage seems to be slipping away.

I found the first half of this book to be excellent indeed, with many spot-on, wry observations about small town life and human nature within that growing irrationality of the town's denizens. I frequently laughed out loud while recognizing quite clearly the solid humanity of the characters. The second half, I think, loses steam, but not nearly to the extent that it robs the book of its enjoyability or value. And, happily, the last 40 pages or so are excellent. I do recommend this book.
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LibraryThing member burnit99
The sequel to "The Last Picture Show", which introduced Duane Moore and the various denizens of the small Texas town of Thalia. It is some 30 years later, and Duane is now an oilman who achieved riches during the oil boom, and is now deep in debt along with everybody else in town because of the worldwide oil glut. He and his wife Karla somehow have forged a lasting marriage, but it's not immediately clear what it's based on, what with various affairs, misunderstandings and arguments twixt the two of them. Thalia becomes an immeasurably more complicated place for Duane when his high school girlfriend Jacy returns from Europe after the death of her child, and somehow strikes up a strong bond with Karla and the rest of Duane's family, even his dog Shorty. All this takes place during the town's centennial celebration, which evolves into a manic affair wilder and more surreal than anything Garisson Keillor imagined in his books. I seem to have somehow wandered into these books near the end of the story, and have been working my way backwards. All that remains is the one that started it, "The Last Picture Show", to which I look forward with a finely-honed antictipation.… (more)
LibraryThing member mikedraper
"Texasville" is the sequel to "The Last Picture Show" and the book Larry McMurtry wrote following "Lonesome Dove."

This story picks up 30 years after the events in "'The Last Picture Show" the wild high school students are now middle aged people trying to re-capture their youth.

Duane Moore is an oil man with huge debts. Like many, he became rich during the oil boom but now that OPEC has cut prices, like many of his friends, Duane is going broke.

The town is about to celebrate it's centennial and a number of old friends talk to Duane but they can't think of anyone worthy of honoring for their success after high school.

While this is happening, Duane spends much of his time reminiscing about his high school days and the glory of the football team. Then his high school girl friend returns to town and things get complicated.

The characters are well described and interesting to see compared to where they were thirty years ago. I enjoyed the story but didn't think it measured up to "The Last Picture Show."
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LibraryThing member LyzzyBee
(09 April 2000, America)

A re-read of this second book in the Last Picture Show series, as I build up to reading the newly acquired fourth and fifth volumes. It’s thirty years since the events of “The Last Picture Show”. Duane and Sonny are still in Thalia; Duane’s married to the terrifying but wonderful Karla, and Jacy’s rumoured to be back in town. Depression and boredom are rife as the oil recession hits,and everyone in town seems to be sleeping with the wrong person. It’s a depressing but moving slice of small town life, pinned loosely around preparations for the town’s centennial celebrations, even though the original county town, the Texasville of the title, has disappeared into the dust. The book has an open, fluid structure that mirrors that of many of the marriages portrayed, and there are some great wild kids and set pieces – who could forget the tumbleweed stampede? (well, I had, in the 12 years since I last read this). The side characters such as the magnificent Ruth Popper, with her marathon running, make this a full and rich read. Amusingly, Danny Deck has a cameo, or his house did. Danny is the hero of “All My Friends are Going to be Strangers” and later on, “Some Can Whistle” – McMurtry pops characters from one book into another a lot; Cadillac Jack has his own book and appears in another one.

My review from April 2000:

Another of his wonderful books – this one comes between “The Last Picture Show” and “Duane’s Depressed” and we see the tragi-comic life of Thalia (the tumbleweed stampede being a comedy high point). Characters are so, so believable, as are the sprawling events.
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LibraryThing member nmele
I really like Larry McMurtry's output, but this one only gets three stars because, although it is funny, at 500 pages we hear far too much about middle-aged Duane Moore.

Genres

Publication

Simon & Schuster (1987), Edition: 1st, 544 pages

Original publication date

1988-05-15

Pages

544

ISBN

0671625330 / 9780671625337

Language

Original language

English
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