Returning to the big Western themes that have made him famous and beloved, McMurtry recreates the bygone days of the old gunfighters in a panoramic, ...Show synopsisReturning to the big Western themes that have made him famous and beloved, McMurtry recreates the bygone days of the old gunfighters in a panoramic, sweeping novel told in the voice of Nellie Courtright, a courageous young woman.Hide synopsis
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I was surprised, when I read this book, at how truly boring it was, given the good reviews it had received. I am guessing that the reviewers were reminiscing more on the quality of McMurtry's 'Lonesome Dove' than on the quality of the writing in this particular novel.
The book began well enough, and the main character of Nellie started off full of mouth and grit. However, there was no character development, the woman's mouth and spunk became annoying over time and the character remained shallow. There were so many places that McMurtry could have taken this character - but as a man writing from a woman's perspective, McMurtry took her to the place where so many men want a woman to be - having promiscuous sexual dalliances and cleaning up men's messes.
There was no recognizable plot, with the narrative appearing simply to be a forum for McMurtry to "name drop" every cowboy or outlaw hero from that period of the west, from Buffalo Bill to Wild Bill. The author overstretched himself in places simply to include a famous character (e.g. Jesse James or Billy the Kid) whose presence did nothing to further develop or improve upon the story.
About 2/3 through the book it becomes abundantly clear that McMurtry has become as sick of the character of Nellie as the reader has, and he ups the pace, skipping years and even decades with the flourish of a pen where initially the pace of the narrative was measured and slow. Characters who could have had some importance to the story are named once and forgotten, and only those with a name worth dropping are discussed further.
I kept waiting for something to happen. It didn't. The ending did nothing to round off the story. The final chapter simply ended like any other chapter - I turned the page, having no indication from the author that this was the end, and there was simply nothing more. I admit to feeling disappointed that I wasted my time reading toward something epic, as the book had initially seemed to promise - and that something even mildly fascinating never came.
Shallow, trite and clichéd, Telegraph Days is another disappointment from an author whose work is becoming increasingly suspect . Though apparently intended as a western ?spoof,? this brief and light novel reads like a bad romance novel.
The plot, such as it is, has chatty, perky, sexy and indomitable Nellie sleeping her way across the west. Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill, Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, George Custer are all conquests by the lovely, brilliant 23-year-old woman whose sensibilities are about 100 years ahead of her time. If the coincidences weren?t bad enough, the men are all one dimensional simpering idiots while the heroic womenfolk suffer them not-so-silently. I guess it?s supposed to be comedy, but?
With the all-too-familiar McMurtry heroine and a slew of western name-dropping, Mr. McMurtry has apparently resorted to writing parodies of himself. Frankly, this would?ve been a bad Harlequin. From the author who wrote Lonesome Dove, it?s just sad.
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