- 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:
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The Last Kind Words Saloon Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was warned this wasn't Larry's best work, and......they were right. Didn't really enjoy it but I sure love Larry McMurtry.Published 9 days ago by Angela K. Dunn
Not up to what I have come to expect of McMurtry.Appeared to be just a rehash of previous told tales.Not a bit of suspense nor anticipation.Published 15 days ago by Mike Flasco
The story (sort of) of the gunfight at OK corral, told in a laconic fashion about laconic men and an unforgiving world.Published 18 days ago by Mike Ashby
Novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry has fixed much of his celebrated writing on the Old West and Texas. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Craig
As always, great economy of style making it so easy to read and yet the characters are never short - changed by inadequate description either physically or of personality.Published 1 month ago by Michael Bolland
If you are a lover of the old west you can never go wrong with McMurtryPublished 1 month ago by Patricia Gale Brown
Starting with “Lonesome Dove”, Larry McMurtry has been trying to de-glamorize the Old West, but somehow readers made heroes out of his protagonists despite his intentions. Read morePublished 2 months ago by AYJ