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Duane's Depressed


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About the Author

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.


McMurtry is in fine form in this conclusion to a trilogy that began with The Last Picture Show (1966) and continued in Texasville (LJ 4/1/87). Now in his early sixties, Duane Moore is in the midst of a mid-life crisis. He first decides to do without a car and starts walking everywhere‘a real shocker in Thalia, TX, where the notion of getting anywhere by foot is laughable. Duane also leaves home and moves to a one-room cabin and then proceeds to pretty much wash his hands of his (totally) dysfunctional adult children and their children. Karla, Duane's long-suffering wife, suspects that he is having an affair. Since Duane is as bewildered by what's happening to him as everyone else is, he finally agrees to see a psychiatrist. (His experiences with the psychiatrist include falling in love with her, reading Proust, and, in an extremely funny scene, attending a book discussion group.) McMurtry's characters are rendered lovingly, if outlandishly, and the pleasure of his easygoing style more than makes up for a plot that really doesn't hold together for a minute. The ending feels rushed, a shame because most of us wouldn't mind reading another hundred pages or so of this entertaining novel. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/98.]‘Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle

Publishers Weekly McMurtry at the top of his form.
The New York Times Book Review A worthy end to an important trilogy, one that captures vividly and movingly nearly half a century of life in a great swath of America.
Craig Nova The Washington Post Book World Duane's Depressed...defines the moment, and the consequences of it, when a man comes up against the confines of his life, both practical and spiritual, and decides that he has had enough...striking and moving.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author McMurtry (Lonesome Dove) offers the final volume in the trilogy that includes the memorable The Last Picture Show (1966) and Texasville (1987). Drawing inspiration from the small Texas town where he grew up, McMurtry limns a wryly comic and finely nuanced portrayal of oil-rich Duane Moore, 62, a leading citizen of small-town Thalia. Depressed for no obvious reason, Duane vexes and bewilders family and community alike when he suddenly parks his identity-defining pickup truck in his carport and starts hoofing it everywhere. His wife, Karla, their adult kids and the small mob of humorously foul-mouthed grandchildren living under his roof grow more confused as his unsettling behavior escalates, especially when he moves to a crude shack six miles out of town. After he turns the family oil business over to eldest son Dickie (newly out of an Arizona drug-rehab center), the delicate symbiosis of the eccentric little town threatens to break down. Duane's symptoms intensify as he consults a comely psychiatrist in Wichita Falls and buys a fancy bicycle. Sudden tragedy disrupts the hero's therapy just as he is starting to come out of his yearlong deep freeze and, with regret and befuddlement, take a long look at his life. Using barren landscapes and drab interiors to emphasize the subtle, potent drama of Duane's search for himself, McMurtry shines as he examines the issues of alienation, grief and the confrontation with personal mortality. Despite a curious distance imposed by limiting the third-person narration almost exclusively to Duane‘which at times renders the voice essentially journalistic‘this novel represents McMurtry at the top of his form. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured alternates. (Jan.) FYI: Scribner is reissuing The Last Picture Show and Texasville in trade paper editions to honor completion of the Thalia trilogy.

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