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Folly and Glory (Berrybender Narratives, Book 4) Paperback – August 8, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is the fourth and final volume in McMurtry's Berrybender Narratives (following By Sorrow's River), a frontier epic of lusty and bloody proportions, in which, fortunately, nearly everyone is killed off. Lord Berrybender, an arrogant and lecherous Englishman and his whining brood of daughters, their brats and servants have been arrested by Mexican authorities and are under house arrest in Santa Fe in the mid-1830s. Tensions between Mexicans and Americans run high as the dispute over Texas drifts toward war. When the Berrybender party is expelled from Santa Fe, the group is forced to march across the desert to Vera Cruz, escorted by inept Mexican soldiers. The grueling journey is filled with hardship and death as thirst, cholera and hostile Indians whittle the group by half. Meanwhile, Jim Snow, aka the Sin Killer, a famous mountain man, plans to rescue his white wife, Tasmin Berrybender, and her family somewhere along the desert route. Once the rescue is complete and the surviving Berrybenders are safely in Texas, Jim goes after the gang of slavers who murdered his son and his Indian wife (mountain men seem to have a lot of wives). Here McMurtry really shows why Jim is called the Sin Killer and why white men and Indians fear the mountain man who shrieks "the Word" and shows no mercy when he is riled up. Of the four books in the series, this is the bloodiest and most brutal, with rapes, torture, mutilation and death heaped upon the characters until grief and despair nearly consume them. Add the disaster at the Alamo and a passel of colorful Texas heroes to the enduring figures of mountain men Kit Carson and Tom Fitzpatrick, and this grisly frontier soap opera concludes with a bang.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Take them for what they are, critics say of Folly and Glory and the rest of the Berrybender Narratives, and you might enjoy it. Judge it against Lonesome Dove, and you will inevitably be disappointed. Criticisms of the book include its meandering and thin plot, stereotypical characters, and indiscriminate violence. Still, critics agree that this volume is much better than the previous three, particularly with the matured character of Tasmin. It at least offers a sense of closure and a meditation on the nature of the American frontier. Beware: most reviewers agreed that if you read Folly and Glory separately from the rest of the series, you won’t fully understand the plot. It might be all or nothing of the Berrybender lot!

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (August 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743262727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743262729
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove. His other works include two collections of essays, three memoirs, and more than thirty screenplays, including the coauthorship of Brokeback Mountain, for which he received an Academy Award. His most recent novel, When the Light Goes, is available from Simon & Schuster. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's so nice to see some high-profile Western projects popping up. The first was SIN KILLER, which marked the beginning of Larry McMurtry's four volumes of The Berrybender Narratives. The second was the announced republishing of the works of Louis L'Amour, commencing with a number of short story collections and continuing with the recent publication of a new edition of the immortal HONDO. And the third is the television series "Deadwood," which, in spite of its occasionally gratuitous use of crude, earthy language, may well be the best-written show currently on television. Things now come full circle with the publication of FOLLY AND GLORY, the fourth and final (at least for now) volume of The Berrybender Narratives. It is a pleasure to find that it sustains, and even surpasses, the energy of its predecessors.
The Berrybender Narratives are not something you can jump into. While McMurtry is incapable of writing badly, this series is best read from the beginning, as it is most definitely a sequential narrative. FOLLY AND GLORY begins with the Berrybenders under a forced yet luxurious house arrest in Santa Fe, Mexico. The mood of the party, particularly Tasmin Berrybender's, is somewhat subdued due to the murder of Pomp Charbonneau at the hands of a deranged Mexican Army captain. The party as a whole, however, passes the time in relative comfort. Their somewhat idyllic incarceration is abruptly ended, though, when it is learned that the Mexican authorities plan to arrest them --- for real this time --- and, in all probability, execute the entire party. Lord Berrybender plans to proceed to Texas, and the party effects a hurried exit out of the compound. Danger and death await at every turn, not only from pestilence but also from a party of slavers.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
FOLLY AND GLORY by Larry McMurtry is a fitting benediction to McMurtry's Berrybender tetralogy. Despite reviews that paint this book as being about as violent as anything that McMurtry has written, I determined to complete the tale of a family of dysfunctional British gentry who come to America in the early Nineteenth Century to "see the sights" as it were.

What I discovered was yet another fine work by McMurtry that was a joy to read. Regarding McMurtry's treatment of violence, I suspect his statement to the modern reader is that violence in the past was as everyday as eating, sleeping or breathing. To our mollycoddled world, where tragedy manifests itself most acutely in the outcome of the latest reality TV program or contest, McMurtry's nonchalant depictions of frontier violence may seem insensitive. But in a world where one could be moving along the trail swimmingly one minute and gasping for life the next with an Apache arrow in his [...] it was likely very common to develop a rather McMurtryan viewpoint of life, of death and of the violence inherent to both.

As with the other three volumes of this series, FOLLY AND GLORY delivers a very engrossing tale with the usual cameo appearances of some of the geographical area's and period's most notable figures. From Old Santa Fe to the Alamo, FOLLY AND GLORY is another McMurtry triumph.

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on September 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Folly and Glory, book four of McMurtry's Berrybender Series, continues the saga of the foppish English family and their hangers-on through the mountain man American West.

This book is both thinner and less well developed than book three of the series. The Berrybender gang start with their genteel imprisonment in Spanish Santa Fe and end up -- much reduced through cholera, Indian attacks and other ghastly means of death -- at the end of the story. I won't give it away, but there is a much reduced cast, new players, surprising relationships and improbable outcomes.

The story is gritty, with lots of hardship and a portrayal of how nasty and short frontier life could be. Historical figures populate this book (Sam Houston, Kit Carson, Jim Bowie, the Bent Brothers), but are used rather loosely and not constrained by their actual lives. This isn't a problem, their appearance certainly adds flavor to the story. Purists may mind that some of the famous die in the book decades before they did in real life, but their use to flavor the story is consistent with McMurtry's approach to this whole whimsical series.

While this book still hangs on Tasmine's whims and management of the story, she is much less a commanding and energetic figure. Occupied by children, bereaved by the death of a lover whom she couldn't quite reach in life anyway, still bewildered by her husband Jim Snow, the Sin Killer, Tasmine hasn't the energy to cause the entire encampment to rotate around her axis as she did in the previous books. Her sisters come somewhat more to the fore as do some new characters introduced in this final installment. The way the Berrybender crowd reacts to circumstance and meets life with their unusual expectations continues to propel this story forward.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
And that is how the story ends.This book is the finale of McMurtry's exciting Berrybender narratives tetralogy.I did reviews on the others;Sin Killer,Nov 30,2003;The Wandering Hill,Dec 21,2004; andSorrow's River,Dec 24,2004.

McMurtry continued this great saga,and gave us a constant stream of exciting events and always captivating characters.As with all McMurtry novels there is the element of history embellished with fiction to keep the story fresh and exciting.

I believe this saga will find its place along with what I believe to be the best ,most interesting and popular historical novel of America;namely,Gone With The Wind.Until now, there has been no equal to Mitchell's great novel;possibly McMurtry has done it.

In both of these sagas there are a host of characters and readers will have their favorites .Some will pick the main characters while others will pick some of the lesser ones.Ashley or Pittipat in GWTW and Piet Van Wely and Bess are examples who really compete with Scarlet and Rhett in GWTW as does Tasmin and Jim Snow in this story.

Again, I strongly recommend reading these books in order and one right after the other for the greatest effect.

Some of the lines I liked best were:

"There is no reasoning with grief,it wears away slowly like

the face on a coin."

"Life happens day to day."

"You can't hurry life- just got to wait it out."

"The Sin Killer was going to fall on the heathen,screaming

out the Word.His sword and his gun would then accomplish

what needed to be done."

Can't recommend it high enough.

I sure hope a Movie is in the works;it'll be a corker--can't wait!
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