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The Last Kind Words Saloon Audible – Unabridged

2.7 out of 5 stars 519 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 3 hours and 49 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • Audible.com Release Date: May 5, 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JSACTWK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. Been a McMurtry fan a long time, even before Lonesome Dove when I read Horseman Pass By in grad school. His first work, it read well, but nothing like the later referenced Lonesome Dove. As a Texas writer/teacher, I wanted more - a lot more than a rehashing of some of the same tales of Doc and Wyatt that have been told a hundred times. I am disappointed with this book, have been with the move away from what he does so well to some of the stranger books he's written and co-written, and will not be a follower of future books. Lonesome Dove was as good as he gets and proliferation doesn't trump quality. Better to write well than to write a lot.
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Format: Hardcover
Like many readers, I have long been a fan of McMurtry and count his epic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Lonesome Dove, among my favorite novels of all time. So when he releases a new novel set in the American West, I sit up and take notice. Such is the case this week with the release of THE LAST KIND WORDS SALOON, a novel about the last days of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday - an infamous duo if ever there were.

IMPORTANT: Those looking for an epic read along the lines of Lonesome Dove will be disappointed. McMurtry instead chose to pursue realism in his portrait of the most famous of the Earp brothers and his erstwhile, alcoholic friend Holliday. Doing so required sparseness, as indeed there little of note to either man's life, despite the legends that later grew up around them. As McMurtry noted in a recent interview:

"Wyatt didn't do much of anything except drink and pester his wife and run around," he says. "He didn't do anything remarkable his whole life, ever."

And The Last Kind Words Saloon goes to great pains to convey this in it's very brevity. Still, McMurtry can't conceal his trademark wit which usually has a way of showing up in dialog ("I need to travel with someone better educated," Wyatt said. "There are few subjects you can even discuss intelligently.") when you least expect it. While his characters may have acerbic banter, their actions are considerably less humorous. Earp regularly beats his wife, while Holliday fares slightly better if only because he doesn't drag another human being down with him. (“Nine out of ten statements Doc made were nonsense, but it was dangerous to stop listening because the tenth statement might be really smart.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love a good Western. I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read that was written by McMurtry.

Right up until now. This book's an unparalleled disaster.

First of all, as I alluded in the title, this isn't a full-blown book. It's a sketch, at best. What can you say about a book full of page-and-a-half "chapters"? There's very little actual "story" line, as it's more a series of vignettes. The characters aren't at all fully developed; they're pretty two-dimensional.

This in itself raises another problem. If you're going to center your book on characters that aren't well developed, don't use major historical (of that era) figures about whom much is already known, then have them act contrary to their known characteristics. This problem is most obvious when it comes to Wyatt Earp.

The Earp of this book is a drunk who beats his (fictional composite) wife regularly. There's absolutely no historical evidence to support such a characterization. In fact, his contemporaries to a man characterized him as a dour man who rarely if ever drank at all.

He met Doc Holliday in 1878, so this story took place after that, as they're already good friends in this story. So why the heck are they in "Long Grass, Texas", a whistle-stop tank town, when in real life Earp was always traveling from boom town to boom town chasing the action, the Old West equivalent of what we now call an "entrepreneur"? Why would he have EVER wasted time in a town where a big event is watching some guy's hat blow down the street?

This is revisionism of the worst - and most boring - kind.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Last Kind Words Saloon may be more enjoyable if readers approach it unaware of the kind of work Larry McMurtry is capable of in Lonesome Dove as well as in the remainder of that series. Those books contain an impressive majesty and scope while McMurtry's newest Western novel is little more than a series of vignettes that can be read in a few sittings.

If approached on its own merits, however, Last Kind Words is worth reading in a few summer afternoons. McMurtry continues the process of reimagining the American West. Wyatt Earp appears as a mean-spirited and squeamish sort who is not much of a hand with guns. He expresses surprise at his own celebrity: "'Why me?' Wyatt asked when he was told he was a hero of some sort. 'Abilene and Dodge are just as mean and ugly as they were before I went there. I subdued a few cowboys who had drunk too much for their own good, that's all.'"

McMurtry goes on to demythologize the Gunfight at the OK Corral, handling what appears to be a minor conflict in a few pages.

On the other hand, the author gives full account of cattle stampedes and of renegade Indians' savage treatment of their captives. He continues to focus on the ongoing war between men and women on the plains through Wyatt Earp's and Charlie Goodnight's marriages.

The Last Kind Words Saloon is not Lonesome Dove but it is quick, accessible, fun to read and presents a view of the West consistent with the author's more substantial efforts.
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