Synopses & Reviews
"I had expected to be thrilled
when I received my first copy of my first book, but when I opened the package and held the first copy in my hand, I found that I just felt sort of flat," writes Larry McMurtry in Literary Life.
"I learned then and have relearned many times since, that the best part of a writer's life is actually doing
it, making up characters, filling the blank page, creating scenes that readers in distant places might connect to. The thrill lies in the rush of sentences, the gradual arrival of characters who at once seem to have their own life."
McMurtry is that rarest of artists, a prolific and genre-transcending writer as popular with reviewers as he is with his readers. The author of more than forty books -- including essay collections, memoirs, and novels ranging from the Duane Moore series that began with The Last Picture Show to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove -- McMurtry has delighted generations with his witty and elegant prose. In Literary Life, the sequel to Books, McMurtry expounds on life on the private side: the trials and triumphs of being a writer.
From his earliest inkling of his future career while at Rice University, to his tenure as a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford with Ken Kesey in 1960, to his incredible triumphs as a bestselling author, Literary Life retains all the intimacy and charm of McMurtry's previous autobiographical works. Replete with literary anecdotes and packed with memorable observations about writing, writers, and the author himself, the book provides a rare glimpse into the life and intellect of a brilliantly insightful man. It is a work that will be cherished not only by McMurtry's admirers, but by the innumerable aspiring writers who seek to make their own mark on American literature.
"In this, the second of three planned memoirs, McMurtry takes a laconic look back over a life in letters that now includes some 40 books and an equal number of screenplays. Best known for the popular movies made from his novels, including Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, McMurtry also co-wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain and served two terms as the president of American PEN. This makes for a lot of literary living, and McMurtry reminisces about interactions with such luminaries as Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, and John Updike, as well as lesser-known figures like Michael Korda and Grover Lewis. Throughout his career, McMurtry has mostly written about his native Texas and the American West, and the early chapters provide a fascinating look into the artistic development of smalltown boy into writer during the 1950s and 1960s. Further on, the book declines into a series of hit-and-miss literary anecdotes, with McMurtry's side business as a bookseller providing many of the highlights. McMurtry's understated style is charming and deceptively sophisticated, although at times it is so laconic as to lack a pulse. Still, the old master proves entertaining." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“A master reflects on the joy of writing . . . An invitation into the working writer’s head.” The Boston Globe“The master of the showstopping anecdote.” Kristy Davis, O, The Oprah Magazine“Entertaining and enlightening.” David Hendricks, San Antonio Express-News“A rambling, shambling, and ambling autobiography.” John Barron, Chicago Sun-Times“Mr. McMurtry is an outsider with insider stories and connections. . . . Strewn through this book’s loose narrative are stories about things like eating chicken gizzards and attending a stock car race in Texas with Susan Sontag. . . . The book is also, happily, filled with his literary enthusiasms.” Dwight Garner, New York Times
Pulitzer Prize and Oscar winner Larry McMurtry's engrossing and deeply personal reflections on the life of a writer.
From Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning author McMurtry comes his engrossing and deeply personal reflections on his life as a writer.
• A critically acclaimed memoirist: McMurtry’s nonfiction works, including his most recent memoir, Books
, have received rave reviews from readers and critics alike. In this follow-up to Books
, McMurtry explores the trials and triumphs of being a writer. .
• Writing from the other side of the fence: Recounting moments from his earliest inkling of a future career to his tenure as a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stamford to his success as a published author, Literary Life will be cherished by McMurtry fans and aspiring writers alike. Including literary anecdotes and gossip, and packed with memorable observations about writing, writers, and the author himself, the book will provide rare insight into the mind of a brilliant, intensely private writer. .
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.