The Thumbnail Book Reviews

by John Q McDonald --- 28 July 2002


by Larry McMurtry

Thirty years have passed, and the high school kids have become the adults of Thalia, Texas. Duane Moore has grown into an oil company owner. Jacy Farrow has become an actress in Italy. Sonny Crawford is the mayor. And many other characters are back in a novel of bittersweet craziness as the town celebrates its centennial. The confused and hopeful kids of The Last Picture Show are now the scions of Thalia's community, and most of them now have families of their own. Duane, entering bankruptcy over the oil price wars of the late 70s and early 80s, has a chaotic family, four kids, a couple of grandkids, and a wife who is deeply sexually frustrated. In fact, the entire town seems sexually frustrated, promiscuous and outright rambunctious. Duane, though, feels lost and depressed (a third novel goes by the title Duane's Depressed). He doesn't understand his wife's erratic moods. And when Jacy reappears after the death of one of her own children, she and his wife make a close friendship that utterly baffles him. Meanwhile, he is the head of the local centennial committee. He is sleeping with an energetic younger woman who, it so happens, is also sleeping with Duane's son. Dickie, himself, is married and carrying on several affairs. In the end, it seems that the only genuine relationship is that between Duane and his dog. The book bounces around just as its characters do. It can be very funny and often touching. Jacy, who you might think would be a major character, being Duane's youthful love, is actually less well developed than others. The book has several holes and seems to end abruptly. Yet, McMurtry brings Thalia to life with the same dusty feeling of the previous novel. It's a fun, if amoral, bunch to spend some time with.

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Also by McMurtry: [The Last Picture Show] [Lonesome Dove]