Book Review: Literary Life– A Second Memoir by Larry McMurtry

I’ve been a Larry McMurtry fan for a very long time,  but in reading his memoir of his career as a fiction writer, Literary Life,  what was most striking to me was how little it turns out I actually knew about  his fully 41 published books.    (That is a huge number of books and amazingly, as I discovered when I set up a Larry McMurtry page in the bookstore all 41 are in print and available new,  which is truly remarkable.)    Learning about his earliest novels and about his earlier volumes of memoir sent me scurrying to the library catalog and with all the McMurtry books piled up around me,  I feel almost like I am taking a graduate school course much like the characters in Moving On.

McMurtry states that the three volumes of memoir (Books,  which I reviewed here),   Literary Life and a forthcoming third volume dealing with his career as a writer for Hollywood constitute his   “summing up” of his life as “a man of letters”.    I very greatly appreciated the additional knowledge of his career and earlier works that I was unfamiliar with,  while at the same time I was again frustrated (as I was with Books) that McMurtry reveals relatively little about himself while managing to work in a scene with and a quote about most every other writer and intellectual he has known over more than fifty years as a writer.      To be fair much of it is good dish,  but despite greatly appreciating the book for the information about his (previously undiscovered by me) works and for some of the dish,  I was nonetheless quite frustrated that he omitted so much about his personal life and doesn’t even mention writing  The Evening Star—  my own most favorite of his many books.     If you are a hard core Larry McMurtry fan,    Literary Life is Highly Recommended.

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