|Digital List Price:||$14.95|
|Print List Price:||$14.95|
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The Last Kind Words Saloon: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 225 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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- Laura Collins-Hughes, Boston Globe
“A beautiful, dreamy, deeply melancholy book, connecting legend and disparate threads of history in a seamless pastiche of tall tales drawn against the context of their real circumstances.”
- Nathan Pensky, The Onion
“[The Last Kind Words Saloon] is never dull, and it’s also very funny. As always, McMurtry's characters are plain-spoken but subtle and full of dry humor…Moseying along with McMurtry is always worthwhile.”
- Adam Woog, Seattle Times --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- File size : 1523 KB
- Publication date : June 30, 2014
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 225 pages
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Publisher : Liveright; Reprint edition (June 30, 2014)
- Page numbers source ISBN : 144727458X
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00FPT5MOU
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #327,249 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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At less than 200 paperback pages, don’t expect Larry McMurtry’s THE LAST KIND WORDS SALOON to be a full-fledged novel. It seemed to me that the author took several historical figures of the Old West with whom he had been long fascinated and constructed a story around them more as a writing exercise to keep himself amused. Sort of like doodling on a pad while talking on the phone.
Here, it’s an indefinite time before October 1881. It picks up in the small Western town of Long Grass, which is “nearly in Kansas, but not quite” and “nearly in New Mexico, too, but not quite.” It might even be in Texas. Wyatt Earp is in town along with his common-law wife, Jesse, and his friend Doc Holliday. Wyatt’s brother Warren is there also; he owns the Last Kind Word’s Saloon. Soon, Charlie Goodnight, an historically famous cattle rancher sometimes known as the “Father of the Texas Panhandle”, rides in preparatory to beginning a cattle drive. (Note: McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove is based on events of Goodnight’s third cattle drive with his partner Oliver Loving, Woodrow Call standing in for the former and Augustus McCrae for the latter.)
THE LAST KIND WORDS SALOON doesn’t have much of a plot. It develops much as tumbleweeds are indolently blown along by the wind. But, it should be sufficiently entertaining for fans of the author’s style. The relationships of the principle male characters with women are amusingly portrayed; the men seem constantly puzzled and mentally and emotionally inept when dealing with the ladies.
The plot drifts slowly towards October 1881 when Wyatt and his brothers and Doc enter Western legend. Although McMurtry didn’t perhaps intend such, his book’s portrayal of Wyatt Earp was pretty much consistent with my understanding of Jeff Guinn’s historical but iconoclastic narrative The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral-And How It Changed the American West , about which I wrote in a 2011 review that its author effectively reduced what is perhaps the American West's most famous shootout to a brief eruption of grubby gunplay, and reveals one of America's most name-recognizable frontier heroes as pathetically and disappointingly ordinary and, when considering the lifelong achievements of Wyatt Earp, the man was neither heroic nor particularly admirable.
I was tempted to give THE LAST KIND WORDS SALOON a ho-hum three stars, but then decided it had given me enough added value to rate four.
So, I h a d a hard time with the story of Wyatt, Doc,Charlie Goodnight, Mary,and the rest. I get it that life comes at us sideways. And the matter of fact way of writing powerful events underscores the random nature of life and death in the West McMurtry knows so well. But this book lacked enough real storytelling to weave the threads into something truly enjoyable and compelling. Too bad because he had a big canvass and interesting characters. Seemed to me he got tired of writing and left the gaps in the story he would have filled in other, better days.
One of the things I enjoy doing, where no specific dates are provided, is trying to narrow down the time frame in question via the characters, their descriptions & conversations/thoughts as well as locale etc. Knowing the Tombstone gunfight took place in Oct. 1881 and not much time seems to elapse from the opening chapter to that event, the bulk of the story must take place in that same year.
Now, as a work of fiction, a certain amount of artistic license must be given the author. However, when dealing with historical figures and/or events, there is no excuse for getting the facts wrong - a major irritant for me. For example: The town of Douglas, AZ didn't exist back then, nor for the most part did Bisbee - which was pretty much the only reason for its eventual founding. Thus there was also surely no Southern Pacific spur to that area of the border at that time. But, my biggest beef is with the description of Buffalo Bill Cody. He's portrayed as more or less washed up and at the end of his career, having treated royal audiences in Europe, including Queen Victoria, to his Wild West Show. The topper, though is his death sometime in 1881. In reality, he would have been no more than 34-35 years of age - two years older than Wyatt - didn't play Europe until the late 1880's to early 1890's, hadn't even reached the height of this show biz fame and didn't die until 1917!. I further seriously doubt Wyatt and Doc participated in any of the productions. Finally, the climactic gunfight is treated as anything but - which is perhaps the way McMurtry wanted it.
For an author of his stature, I can't understand the lack of attention to detail (among other things), especially when all the info is readily available anywhere on the net. Maybe it was intentional for some reason I can't fathom.
Top reviews from other countries
That said, somebody needs to explain how this happened. Clearly, McMurtry sent a rough synopsis of his next novel to his publisher and, by some mischance, it managed to get published as is. While mistakes can happen, it doesn't seem reasonable to continue selling this for £4.99 once the problem is evident to anyone.
I brought the Kindle version which was complete with pictures at the start of the different sections.