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Rhino Ranch: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 11, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
Book 5 of 5 in the Thalia Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. McMurtry ends the west Texas saga of Duane Moore, begun in 1966 with The Last Picture Show, with a top-shelf blend of wit and insight, sharply defined characters and to-the-point prose. Duane, now in his late 60s, is a prosperous and retired widower, lonely in his hometown of Thalia, Tex. Then billionaire heiress K.K. Slater moves in and opens the Rhino Ranch, a sanctuary intended to rescue the nearly extinct African black rhinoceros. Slater is a strong-willed, independent woman whose mere presence upsets parochial Thalia, and Duane can't quite figure her out. His two best buddies, Boyd Cotton and Bobby Lee Baxter, both work for Slater, and the three friends schmooze with the rich, talk about geezer sex, rat out local meth heads and try to keep track of a herd of rhinos. Mixed in with the humor and snappy dialogue are tender and poignant scenes as the women in Duane's life die or drift away, and Duane befriends a rhino and realizes that his life has lost its purpose. Nobody depicts the complexities of smalltown Texas life and the frailties of human relationships better than McMurtry. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Forty-three years have passed since McMurtry, the quintessential Western writer, first introduced readers to Duane Moore, then a young, virile Texan coming of age in the fictional town of Thalia. Fast forward to Rhino Ranch, which critics described as a melancholy, wistful, and occasionally hilarious final entry in the popular series. Critics, several of whom grew up alongside Duane, were extremely grateful the series didn't end with When the Light Goes, characterized by the San Antonio Express-News as "trashy, single-minded, and X-rated." Although the Washington Post cautioned new readers not to view this title as a stand-alone (yes, you should start at the beginning), the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response confirmed that all's well that ends well.

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (August 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439156395
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439156391
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Zimmerman VINE VOICE on October 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
McMurtry brings the fifty-plus year story of Texas oil man Duane Moore to a close with Rhino Ranch. You might expect the title to be metaphorical, and it probably is, but it's literal as well as a conservationist-come-lately works to establish a ranch for displaced black rhinos in the wide open spaces of west Texas. As with most stories in the Moore chronicle (The LAST PICTURE SHOW : A Novel, TEXASVILLE : A Novel and Duane's Depressed, the cowboys are laconic, the women horny (in one case quite impressively so), the oilmen greedy (except Duane, of course, who prefers his shack to the big house), and the dialogue witty.

There's probably a deeper level on which to become engaged with Rhino Ranch (the mythical nature of a particular rhino points to one), but I never quite got there. I don't know if that's my fault for being lazy or McMurtry for not pushing me harder, rather, allowing me to enjoy the easy charm of his writing along the way. 3.5 stars - I'll round to four for having the courage to write a fairly definite end to Duane's tale.
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Rhino Ranch is an entertaining read featuring Duane Moore, the character who has been the center of several other McMurtry books, going back to the masterful The Last Picture Show. Duane is older now, semi-retired and nearing the end of his 3rd marriage. He once again falls prey to various women, gets concerned about his family, wonders about his hometown, and seems to have an equal amount of disdain, confusion, and appreciation for nearly everyone he encounters.

The premise of a wealthy lady starting a ranch or haven for rhinoceroses outside the fictional Texas town of Thalia is wrought with great entertainment potential. The various accounts of Double Aught (a large and mysterious rhino) give the book a color that contrasts with the quirky people involved. Classic McMurtry insights abound, giving the story human wisdom that goes beyond entertainment. Smooth prose, quick dialog, terse language, and direct situations make Rhino Ranch a quick and uncomplicated read that can be enjoyed by everyone.

While the funny stories and strange people give the book a shimmering energy, at the same time the sadness of the situations and the losses that occur overshadow the joy. People and animals are introduced only to disappear either from death or just plain disappearance, at times without compassion and laced with apathy. Realism, even naturalism, reigns victorious over the festive. Exuberance is quickly forgotten and replaced by sorrow, reminding one of the Robert Frost admonition that "Nothing Gold can stay." One confusing detail jumped out when it was mentioned that Dal's parents were dead only to discover a few pages later that her mother was sick.
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Let me start by declaring my admiration for Mr. McMurtry and his works. The novel "The Last Picture Show" was the first book that started my love for reading and that love has served me well in the last forty-plus years. I have read and collected all of his commonly published work and was even blessed to have met the man...but thank goodness that the last of the "Picture Show" characters has expired. The improbability - if not the impossibility - of the May/December romances lately described in this book series will make the reader feel the writer has stepped into the absurb. With all of Mr. McMurtry's talent, I was hoping he would do the character's sunset-years more justice. It is a subject worthy of his abilities but I was left disappointed.

Still, for those of us who have followed this series (and even seen the character receive a mention in other McMurtry novels) it is a must-read. It does bring some closure.

Aside from the romantic inclusions it is an enjoyable read that flows well in Mr. McMurtry's style. You will still get the feel of the people who live in this land and work hard to attain a subsistence lifestyle while the wealth remains far out of reach. You will still feel the unforgiving aspects of the range-land where humans may compete with animals in a life or death struggle. You will still get the feel for a country where the stranger you meet probably does have an accessible weapon and may be provoked to use it. Good-bye, Mr. Moore. Rest in Peace.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was okay. I loved the series, but it appeared that McMurtry wanted to end it hurriedly. Although the story was well written as usual, I closed the book thinking he must have been late for an appointment and needed to get it to the publisher right away. I'd still recommend it, but I wish McMurtry had been more detailed and thoughtful about Duane's demise.
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Format: Hardcover
The sovereign state of Texas was recently in the news when Governor Rick Perry announced that Texans might want to consider invoking a little known provision of statehood and elect to secede from the United States. Down in Archer City, Texas, author Larry McMurtry hopefully had a good chuckle and was inspired to start jotting down some notes for a new series of Lone Star State-themed novels.

McMurtry is the chronicler of all things Texas. In LONESOME DOVE and its literary progeny, he wrote of frontier Texas before it joined the Union. The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1986 and introduced readers to Texas Rangers Augustus McRae and Woodrow Call. A series of sequels focused on life in the American West before the Civil War.

RHINO RANCH is McMurtry's final installment in his modern Texas saga. This series began with the publication of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW in 1966, and introduced readers to Thalia, Texas and Duane Moore. In between these bookend novels, McMurtry visited the oil patch town of Thalia and its citizens in TEXASVILLE, DUANE'S DEPRESSED and WHEN THE LIGHT GOES.

Some may be reluctant to pick up a book after being advised that it marks the conclusion of a series. But each of the novels in McMurtry's series can be read independently. You will learn enough about the characters to enjoy RHINO RANCH. Perhaps as I was, you will be inspired after reading one installment to go back to where it all began. Last week, while visiting a used bookstore, I picked up my own copy of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. Soon I will start the Moore saga at the beginning.

When readers last encountered Duane Moore, he had overcome the death of his wife and remarried. Unfortunately for Duane, his second marriage has not gone well.
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