Rhino Ranch: A Novel

by Larry McMurtry

Hardcover, 2009

Call number

FIC MCM

Collection

Publication

Simon & Schuster (2009), Edition: First Edition, 288 pages

Description

Returning home to recover from a near-fatal heart attack, Duane discovers that he has a new neighbor: the statuesque K. K. Slater, a quirky billionairess who's come to Thalia to open the Rhino Ranch, dedicated to the preservation of the endangered black rhinoceros. Despite their obvious differences, Duane can't help but find himself charmed by K.K.'s stubborn toughness and lively spirit, and the two embark on a flirtation that rapidly veers toward the sexual -- but the return of Honor Carmichael complicates Duane's romantic intentions considerably.

Media reviews

I came to McMurtry’s latest novel about Duane, Rhino Ranch, more or less fresh, as if I were meeting him for the first time. And I liked the old guy. In fact, I liked Duane a lot. He and his friends in the fictional Texas town of Thalia made me laugh and nearly made me cry, and they made me think
Show More
about life, which isn’t a bad trick for a retired oilman who feels increasingly insignificant and engages in a dubious coupling with a teenage porn star. For more on that, you’ll have to read the book.
Show Less

User reviews

LibraryThing member rocketjk
This is the fifth and final entry in McMurtry's "Thalia, Texas" series that begins with The Last Picture Show. When a billionairess decides to purchase a large tract of land outside Thalia and set up a game preserve to try to save an African Rhino species facing extinction, the locals of Thalia
Show More
come face to face with the outside world in ways they don't necessarily appreciate. The novel is thoughtful and elegiac in tone, as characters we've come to care about face innumerable changes in the world they've known and bump up against their own mortality. McMurtry keeps things whimsical and fun, though. There is even a touch of magical realism. One drawback for me is that the storytelling is formatted into small little bite-sized chunks, many short chapters of only a page or two in length, so individual situations are rarely explored in depth. I found this distracting and sometimes frustrating, especially through the first third of the book. As things proceed, however, one begins to go more easily with the flow, and the layering of these incidents and insights provides a pleasing if not fully satisfying whole.
Show Less
LibraryThing member agirlandherbooks
I’ve read most of Larry McMurtry’s non-Western novels, which is habit more than enjoyment, because every time I finish one, I wonder not only why he’s lauded, but why I spent time chasing his words. More than any other “literary” novelist, he seems to make stories out of nothing at all
Show More
… the page-turning equivalent of Seinfeld. And of all the characters he’s chronicled, he’s made the most out of the nothing that is Duane Moore, most recently sighted in Rhino Ranch.

Moore is, as previously titled, depressed: his second wife has dumped him for another man, he’s being pursued by a teenaged porn star, and is intrigued by a globe-trotting billionaire with the urge to rescue the endangered black rhinoceros on a dusty Texas preserve. He also uses a lot of phone minutes chatting with his former therapist, Honor Carmichael, who now lives in New England with her latest lover. Duane engages in all sorts of silly behavior – the most egregious being a vasectomy – basically giving McMurtry 278 pages to document his drinking, spending and sexual escapades, as well as fulfilling whatever remains of his contract with Simon & Schuster.

If you need a forgettable book to read on an airplane or sitting by the hospital bedside of a loved one, Rhino Ranch is a good choice. Otherwise, to quote the author himself … horseman, pass by.
Show Less
LibraryThing member repb
Wow! What a disappointment. What has McMurtry been smoking lately? A X-rated account of a bunch of mixed up misfits stumbling through life with little success. And what an absurd premise to begin with. I feel embarrassed for the author. I feel mad at myself for sticking it out till the bitter end.
Show More
The only thing this novel has going for it is short chapters. Did I mention I didn't like it?
Show Less
LibraryThing member ZoharLaor
Rhino Ranch is the story of Duane Moore, a hardworking and successful man in Thalia, TX. After his wife leaves him, Duane meets up with a billionaires named K.K. Slater who is importing endangered black rhinos into town in an effort to save them. This is the backdrop to introduce us to the zany
Show More
characters of a small Texas town as well as the melancholy and loneliness Duane feels in his old age.

Slowly the rhinos fade out of the story, which is too bad because they were more believable than the quirky, and not-so-quirky, characters who pop in and out of the pages of this book. The author writes about Duane as if the reader is familiars with the series of books, but even though I haven't read the previous books I liked Duane, his friends and even his grandson which seemed to be the only sane character in the book. McMurtry can sure write cowboys, but the women lacked depth, each one was promiscuous on some level and wanted to lay one of the three elderly (late 60's early 70's) cowboys who the story mostly revolved around.
That being said, I thought the dialog was wonderful and the character development through mostly just talk was superb storytelling.

As mentioned, the rhinos all but disappear half way through the story. Rhinoceros are animals which has many symbolism attached to them such as freedom, stability, judgment and peace of mind among others. It seemed to me (maybe it was intentional, maybe not) that Duane's outlook is changing once the rhino he perceived to be his friend disappeared. At first, when his young wife left him, Duane is sad, but now he has his freedom to go fishing or spend nights in his cabin, as well as peace of mind (since his wife was cheating on him openly) all while looking forward to his daily walk to his cabin, through the rhino ranch, accompanied by his rhino friend. Once the rhinos disappeared he started questioning himself, losing his confidence, developing conspiracy theories, etc.

This book is easy to read, with lots and lots of white space, some of the chapters are half a page and none longer then two pages. Strangely enough, some of the chapters are split, or so it seemed to me, without any rhyme or reason.


When I started this book I didn't realize it was part of a series - so please keep that in mind as well.
Show Less
LibraryThing member SamSattler
Rhino Park (2009) marks the end of Duane Moore’s story, a story that Larry McMurtry began all the way back in 1966 with The Last Picture Show. This five-book series also includes Texasville (1989), Duane’s Depressed (1999), and When the Light Goes (2007). Along the way, Duane and his Thalia
Show More
cohorts age pretty much in real time. Duane was a high school football star in The Last Picture Show, an aging man who feels bad that he has outlived most of his old friends by the time we get to Rhino Park.

Duane and his young wife, Annie, call Patagonia, Arizona, home. Theirs has been a rather chaste relationship since Duane suffered a heart attack that almost killed him while he and Annie were making love. Duane knows that Annie has taken on lovers since the incident, but he has learned to live with the situation. But, after Annie decides that even that arrangement is not good enough, Duane heads back to Thalia where he still keeps a house and his beloved cabin.

Duane might be slowing down, but Thalia is not. K.K. Slater, said to be a billionaire, has decided that Thalia is the perfect place for her to open the Rhino Ranch, a preservation facility to ensure the survival of the endangered black rhinoceros. Along with the ranch, comes a few new jobs, and a couple of Duane’s oldest friends suddenly become rhino wranglers.

Despite not really wanting to have anything to do with the rhino ranch, Duane is slowly sucked into its day-to-day activity. First, he mysteriously bonds with the biggest rhino on the ranch when it insists on walking the fence line, side-by-side with Duane, that separates the ranch from the property on which Duane’s cabin sits. Then, he finds that K.K. Slater has a way of keeping life in Thalia interesting and starts keeping company with her and her big city friends.

Rhino Ranch is all about one man’s reflections on a life well lived. Duane senses that his time is largely past and he is struggling to find a sense of purpose. His friends are dead or dying (that kind of bad news just keeps pounding on him), and he is starting to feel like the Lone Ranger. His son has taken over Duane’s oil business, there are no women in his life, and he is not all that crazy about his two daughters. If it were not for his grandson, frankly, he would not feel particularly close to anyone in his family.

Duane Moore is one of modern literature’s memorable characters, and Larry McMurtry fans have been following his progress for literally a lifetime. Rhino Ranch is a good way to say goodbye.

Rated at: 5.0
Show Less
LibraryThing member SamSattler
Rhino Park (2009) marks the end of Duane Moore’s story, a story that Larry McMurtry began all the way back in 1966 with The Last Picture Show. This five-book series also includes Texasville (1989), Duane’s Depressed (1999), and When the Light Goes (2007). Along the way, Duane and his Thalia
Show More
cohorts age pretty much in real time. Duane was a high school football star in The Last Picture Show, an aging man who feels bad that he has outlived most of his old friends by the time we get to Rhino Park.

Duane and his young wife, Annie, call Patagonia, Arizona, home. Theirs has been a rather chaste relationship since Duane suffered a heart attack that almost killed him while he and Annie were making love. Duane knows that Annie has taken on lovers since the incident, but he has learned to live with the situation. But, after Annie decides that even that arrangement is not good enough, Duane heads back to Thalia where he still keeps a house and his beloved cabin.

Duane might be slowing down, but Thalia is not. K.K. Slater, said to be a billionaire, has decided that Thalia is the perfect place for her to open the Rhino Ranch, a preservation facility to ensure the survival of the endangered black rhinoceros. Along with the ranch, comes a few new jobs, and a couple of Duane’s oldest friends suddenly become rhino wranglers.

Despite not really wanting to have anything to do with the rhino ranch, Duane is slowly sucked into its day-to-day activity. First, he mysteriously bonds with the biggest rhino on the ranch when it insists on walking the fence line, side-by-side with Duane, that separates the ranch from the property on which Duane’s cabin sits. Then, he finds that K.K. Slater has a way of keeping life in Thalia interesting and starts keeping company with her and her big city friends.

Rhino Ranch is all about one man’s reflections on a life well lived. Duane senses that his time is largely past and he is struggling to find a sense of purpose. His friends are dead or dying (that kind of bad news just keeps pounding on him), and he is starting to feel like the Lone Ranger. His son has taken over Duane’s oil business, there are no women in his life, and he is not all that crazy about his two daughters. If it were not for his grandson, frankly, he would not feel particularly close to anyone in his family.

Duane Moore is one of modern literature’s memorable characters, and Larry McMurtry fans have been following his progress for literally a lifetime. Rhino Ranch is a good way to say goodbye.

Rated at: 5.0
Show Less
LibraryThing member burnit99
To my sadness, I found that this is the concluding chapter of Duane Moore's story, which began with "The Last Picture Show" in 1966. This is a very meandering story, but it fits Duane Moore, probably in his late 60's and feeling at somewhat loose ends when his second wife, Annie, phones him from
Show More
Europe to tell him she has fallen in love with a Frenchman and would appreciate letting the lawyers handle it peacefully. And Thalia, Texas is now the home to billionairess K.K. Slater's Rhino Ranch, an effort to save the endangered black rhinoceros. With this as a constant backdrop, Duane moseys into a medley of new relationships which cement his developing belief that he hasn't really learned very much about women, but that's okay because he certainly isn't alone there. As unlikely as some of the dalliances he has with significantly younger women may seem, it didn't really bother me because Duane comes off as such a congenially befuddled nice guy that I found myself rooting for him, and was saddened by the ten-year-later epilogue that abruptly concludes this saga. I've read a few of them (the later ones); now I feel compelled to go back and find the earlier books.
Show Less
LibraryThing member nmele
It's a pleasure to read this lean, humorous last chapter of the story of Duane Moore and Thalia, Texas. I really like McMurtry's writing.
LibraryThing member bibleblaster
Might this be McMurtry's last novel, as he hints in his memoir, "Literary Life"? I would be sad if it was, but every author reaches an end and this one isn't a bad one. I admit to being a sucker for his fiction. It's not always great, but I always find it enjoyable. This is the capstone to the
Show More
Duane story that began in "The Last Picture Show." I thought the rhino piece was a little contrived at first, but I admit that they have continued to roam in my mind long after finishing the book, conjuring images of home and displacement and dignity and humor and...well done, Larry.
Show Less
LibraryThing member debs913
This is the first McMurty book I've read. It is: easy to read, has lots and lots of short chapters, has decent character development, and kind of a sad story.

One comment, McMurty uses an odd method of writing dialog that I found disconcerting; he would right a line of dialog for a character and
Show More
then continue with the character talking in the next sentence. It was jarring enough that I had to re-read several times as I kept losing the thread of who was speaking.
Show Less
LibraryThing member sraelling
I've heard that men think about sex 95% of the time, Yep.

Pages

288

ISBN

1439156395 / 9781439156391
Page: 0.3129 seconds