The Last Picture Show

Larry McMurtry, one of my favorite authors, says that his next book, RHINO RANCH, may be his last.

"It's a finite gift, for sure," he says of novel writing. "I'm about at the end of it. I can write certain things. I don't think I can write fiction any more. I think I've used it up over 30 novels. That's a lot of novels. […]Most great novels are written by people between 40 and 60, or 35 and 60. Not too many great novels are written by people over 75. Hardly any. Maybe Tolstoy."

RHINO RANCH comes out August 11th and is yet another sequel to THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, as were TEXASVILLE, DUANE'S DEPRESSED, and WHEN THE LIGHT GOES. I'm a huge fan of McMurtry's work, but I've found his "contemporary" novels of the last few years, particularly his sequels to THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, to be morose, meandering, and boring tales that lack his usual punch. I'll buy it and read it anyway, of course. Over the last 20 years, by far his best books have been his westerns, most notably LONESOME DOVE and its sequels and prequels.

But this is not the first time McMurtry has threatened to quit…and then followed the announcement by writing a great novel. 

4 thoughts on “The Last Picture Show”

  1. I met Larry McMurtry more than 20 years ago in Oklahoma, and he said the same thing about his writing. My favorite of The Last Picture Show sequels is Duane’s Depressed.
    Bob Dylan wasn’t sure he had any great music left in him but Modern Times proved him wrong.
    I say, keep writing. We never know when our best is behind us.

  2. Mr. McMurtry may be the largest literary figure still writing. His achievements include a Pulitzer and other prizes, including a Spur Award. But he has won distinction in a variety of venues, including western fiction and what is commonly called literary fiction. He uses his depressive nature to get at life’s realities, and to express sorrows and sometimes joy in his novels in a way that few can equal.

  3. I loved THE LAST PICTURE SHOW so much when I read it as a kid that I’d hate to read a disappointing sequel to it — let alone one that is “morose, meandering, and boring.” Glad I steered clear of the sequels.


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