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Westerns

Sun-SSS

New Member
I am a bit surprised to find no mention anywhere of this genre, except for Wabbit’s saying that he doesn’t care for it. Well, very few are very good, but a few are as good as anything mainstream. Here are three:

Warlock, by Oakley Hall. Hall has taken bits of history, people who lived and events that really happened, and knitted them into an entertaining and thought-provoking story set in a town called Warlock. He manages to take the reader right into that time and place. Love them, hate them, sometimes laugh at them (but don’t let them hear you laugh—they’re dangerous) his characters are ones we can relate to. Especially Big-Nose Kate.

The Searchers, by Alan LeMay. Much better than the movie based on his book. The book’s characters are real, issues dealt with in depth. Children are kidnapped by tribal Indians, to be raised as Indians or to be sold as slaves, one or the other, no one knows. Family members set out to get them back, one because he loves those children, the other because he hates the Indians.

The Saga of Billy The Kid, by Walter Noble Burns. Not Hollywood stuff or pulp fiction, but history probably as accurate as it can be, written as a novel. Follows William Bonney’s career from age twelve when in New York he stabs to death a man for insulting his mother, through apprenticeship in petty outlawry and his role in Arizona’s Lincoln County War, to his murder by his one-time companion Pat Garret. Gripping story, from beginning to end. Reader can see where many of those Hollywood clichés came from, crooked sheriff ruling the town with his gang of thugs, etc. What rich history, of not so long ago. One scene has Bonney peeping through the window of Governor Lew Wallace late one night (Governor has offered him amnesty if he gives himself up, but is a Governor to be trusted?). Wallace is at his desk, writing. The book invites us to speculate that he might have been writing Ben Hur. In the midst of history unfolding, one of its protagonists spying on him from a few feet away, maybe contemplating killing him, he is writing an historical novel.

P.S. and let's not forget Larry McMurtry.
 

Ell

Well-Known Member
Sun-SSS said:
P.S. and let's not forget Larry McMurtry.
I have a friend who loves Larry McMurtry. He went on about him so much that I broke down and bought a used copy of Lonesome Dove. However, I haven't been able to bring myself to read it. Just what makes him so good and is Lonesome Dove worthwhile?

ell
 

Sun-SSS

New Member
Ell said:
I have a friend who loves Larry McMurtry. He went on about him so much that I broke down and bought a used copy of Lonesome Dove. However, I haven't been able to bring myself to read it. Just what makes him so good and is Lonesome Dove worthwhile?

Lonesome Dove—is it worthwhile. A vexed question. Some people, including ones who have no respect for the Western genre, can get lost in it and simply love it; others, while conceding that it is a well enough written book, just can't get into it, don't understand what others who rave about it see in it. Just comes down to a matter of taste, I guess.

I think one of the things that makes McMurtry so good to those who like him is the "down-homey" way he presents his characters. They are like the people we know, living out their lives in an alien time and place. Like every good writer's characters, we come to know them, not just see them doing stuff, hear them saying stuff. His insight into human nature goes way beyond what most readers would expect of a writer of Westerns; he invents very sympatico characters. And he has a sense of humour.
 

Ell

Well-Known Member
Sun-SSS said:
His insight into human nature goes way beyond what most readers would expect of a writer of Westerns; he invents very sympatico characters. And he has a sense of humour.
Okay, these last 2 sentences may be just enough to get me to read it. ;)

ell
 
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