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Sin Killer: A Novel (Berrybender Narratives) Paperback – August 8, 2005
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Thanks largely to Sin Killer's gallery of colorful personalities, McMurtry keeps most of the action firmly in the realm of fish-out-of-water farce. One such character is the independent and opinionated eldest daughter Tasmin, who, frustrated by her family's conventions, escapes the steamer, whereupon she meets and falls in love with Jim Snow, a.k.a. Sin Killer. Snow, an Indian killer raised by natives, is a stoical, God-fearing man who won't tolerate blasphemy. With prose that flows as naturally as the Missouri, McMurtry weaves together a large cast and vast setting into a thoroughly exciting, hilarious adventure novel. Though Sin Killer focuses on a love story and contains plenty of realistic violence, McMurtry's efficient voice and matter-of-fact perspective leaves little room for tragedy or sentimentality, instead emphasizing high comedy. This is wonderful storytelling from a narrator in perfect agreement with his subject. Sin Killer should please McMurtry's many fans, who now have much to look forward to. --Ross Doll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
A mere 300 pages long, it's a wild comedic ride with the Berrybender family in 1832. They've come over from England and are on a boat making its way up the Missouri River. There's Lord Berrybender, his wife, his mistress, six of his 14 legitimate children, servants, guides, tutors, artists and a couple of Indian chiefs traveling home after being feted in Washington. The family is rich and spoiled and totally clueless. They meet a variety of tragedies but the writer presents it all as a farce, and I couldn't help laughing out loud at times.
Central to the plot is the oldest daughter, Tasmin. She falls in love with an American God-fearing frontiersman named Jim Snow, nicknamed "Sin Killer" by the Indians. Their romance is hilarious as are the other events in the book, as the many characters meet with accidents, violent death and love affairs. Several of the women are held captive by the Indians, some of the men are caught in a snowstorm while out shooting buffalo, and the wild and wooly frontier itself plays a role in the story. There are lots and lots of characters who romp across the pages, each with a distinctive personality, profession and passion. I loved them all.
This is a fun book, not to be taken seriously. It's just pure entertainment all the way and the action never stops. I loved it. And, since all the threads of the complex plot were certainly not tied together on the last page, I am eagerly awaiting Book 2. I sure hope it's released soon because I can't wait to continue this very enjoyable saga. Recommended.
SIN KILLER is the first offering of a four-volume work set along the Missouri River in the 1830's. An English family that includes Lord and Lady Berrybender and their fourteen children along with their entourage is bent on exploring the untamed American West. The cast of characters numbers fifty-eight (Don't worry, there's a glossary), headed by Tasmin Berrybender, a willful young lady who falls in love with Jim Snow (think Jim Bridger) and is nonplused when he doesn't hang on her every word and deed. The other plot line involves how often Lord Albany Berrybender gets himself in some kind of pickle, shooting off his toes at one point, getting caught in a blizzard in another.
Twelve-year-old Mary Berrybender was perhaps the most engaging character. She is erudite beyond her years and has mysterious powers, the ability to sniff out edible roots, Jerusalem artichokes, tubers, onions.
Ever since LONESOME DOVE and Blue Duck, I've been impressed with McMurtry's facility with Indian names. In this one, we've got Big White, The Hairy Horn, Neighing Horses, Blue Thunder, and Cat Head. Three of these are old men being escorted back home from a parley in Washington D.C. by Toussaint Charbonneau (the guide on the Louis and Clark expedition). He keeps losing them when the steamboat snags on a sandbar.
There's lots of ravaging and fornication going on, rather much if you're the prudish sort. McMurtry is having a wonderful time making fun of nineteenth century aristocracy. SIN KILLER would qualify as a comic novel if so many characters weren't falling down stairs breaking their necks or being hacked to death by axes. The novel also comes to a screeching halt, abrupt, even for a four-part novel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one book of a series. I found them very enjoyable, as I do all of McMurtry's books.Published 1 month ago by Lynda R. Pyke
This review is for the audio edition narrated by Alfred Molina.
Briefly looking through some of the other reader reviews, it seems as though longtime Larry McMurtry fans... Read more