Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry was my Pulitzer pick for the month of February. It is rare that a book takes me a long time to read even if it is almost 1,000 pages. It took me almost two weeks to finish Lonesome Dove and I enjoyed almost every minute of it. This surprised me since I did not think I could get into a western at all.
Lonesome Dove is a small town in southern Texas and the home of Texas rangers turned cattlemen CPT Woodrow Call and Augustus "Gus" McCrae. They run the Hat Creek outfit consisting off a myriad of interesting characters including Pea Eye Parker, Deets, and young 17 year old Newt who wishes to cowboy like the rest.
When old ranger buddy Jake Spoon who is on the run from the law rides into town telling of the wealth of land in Montana that is just waiting for someone to claim it, Call decides it is time to leave Lonesome Dove and see for himself. They hire a few more hands-Needle Nelson, Soupy Jones, Dish Boggett, the Rainey boys, and the O'Briens-two Irish brothers they find and rescue in Mexico. Jake decides to bring town whore Lorena Wood along for the ride too.
Along the way they have many adventures-including being chased by Arkansas lawman July Johnson who is trying to catch Jake Spoon for murdering his brother and fights with Indians, most notably the infamous Blue Duck who kidnaps Lorena. There are also sad moments and some of the cowboys do not make it all the way to Montana. Gus also deals with his regret over losing his first love Clara and Call deals with whether or not to tell Newt his is his pa.
This story is a cowboy story but there are so many stories within the main story that I never got bored while reading. The cast of characters was wonderful and I can definitely picture them living in that setting in real life. Even after 945 pages I wanted the story to keep going.
The only complaint I had was although a big event did happen towards the end of the book, Call's return to Lonesome Dove was kind of anti climatic. Still, this book was well worth the read. Even if you are apprehensive about reading a western like I was, I urge you to give this a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.
A friend has graciously offered to loan me her DVD of the mini-series and I can't wait to watch it to see how it stack up to the book. I am debating on whether or not to read the other three books with the Lonesome Dove characters although the consensus seems to be they don't come close to stacking up to the original. The book definitely gets 5 fleurs from me though :)
If the FTC is wondering: This book is from my own personal library