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Showing 1-10 of 57 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 97 reviews
on March 27, 2017
One of the very few McMurtry books I threw out. Could only read about the first 100 pages -- and unbelievable account written capriciously by Larry McMurtry. BORING... even more so than the the first book in this series, "The Berrybender Narratives". Can't imagine reading the third and fourth book! What happened, Mr. McMurtry?
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on September 18, 2014
This is probably the weakest book in the series but still you will need to read it to get the full understanding of the last 2 books in the series. There is sort of an odd dry cowboy humor to these books but sometimes things seem to be thrown into the story that are just too odd to ring true. I don't re-cap stories in a review because its kind of a spoiler for a reader and after reading all 4 Berrybender books I am kind of lost to remember what part went with each book. There is lots of killing/dying in every way imaginable and lots of "fornicating" in these books. All I can say is buy all 4 books, read them without believing that's the way the early western travelers actually behaved, don't worry about little details like how did the old Lord Berrybender pay for this 2 year or so ramble through the wild ( did he carry money?) and just enjoy a interesting tall tale.
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VINE VOICEon January 11, 2008
The Wandering Hill is part two of a four-part series chronicaling the adventures of the aristocratic, English Berrybender family exploring the American West in the 1830's on a steamship on the Missouri River. Lord Berrybender is accompanied by his gluttonous wife and six of his 14 legitimate children. The series is historical fiction in that it incorporates actual people such as Kit Carson, Jim Bridges, yet the tales are so fanciful that history is left in the dust.

Outrageous is the best general characterization of these stories. The adventures and their characters seem larger than life and more colorful than neon. Not for the faint of heart, unexpected, random, senseless and disturbing atrocities, injuries, and deaths litter these tales, with a side of lots of "rutting." The majority of the initial primary characters do not survive to see bookfour4 of the series.

Yet, the stories grabbed me. I went through the series like popcorn, wanting to see what amazing events would occur to the crazy Berrybenders and their growing entourage. The series is intense, rollercoastering through every facet of human emotion and many aspects of abnormal psychology. Nothing dull in these books. The frequent connections to actual historical persons and events keep the tales interesting and grounded, despite the continuum of bizarre incidents. Not for everyone, but I liked it.
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on August 24, 2006
Throughout most of this book it seemed like a four star effort, not quite up to the hilarious standard set by Sin Killer, the first in this series. The Wandering Hill is not hilarious. It's a good action story with interesting and very unusual characters.

The final chapter of the book is what earns that final fifth star. It is an awesome scene involving Pomp Charboneau, Tasmin Berrybender, and Pomp's deceased mother Sacagawea. I could see it in a movie, bringing tears to everyone's eyes, including Tasmin's.

There is a sort of humor in death. Larry McMurtry kills his characters off more than just occasionally, and those he doesn't kill he will often maim. One of the oddest scenes I've ever read involves Lord Berrybender, his son Bobbetty, and a fork in the father's hand. Poor Bobbetty really gets it in this story, harmless and silly though the teenager is. He seems like a nice enough kid to me, completely unsuited to the wild, but having lots of fun, come what may.

Tasmin is still the star of the book, as she was in Sin Killer. She's amazing.

I'm really glad I discovered this series. Sin Killer just showed up in a drawer. I don't know who bought it or how it got there. It had been sitting there for a long time, maybe years.
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on October 22, 2004
In THE WANDERING HILL,Volume Two of the four volumes of the Berrybender narratives, McMurtry begins to polish and sculpt his delicious cavalcade of characters out of the American West. (Don't start here though. Begin by reading THE SIN KILLER and continue through the 4 books in order. The story is vast as the western sky, an odyssey, and it requires the length and breadth of all four books to get "home".) The cast includes an oscillating number of the unpredictable, aristocratic Berrybender family; Jim Snow (the Sin Killer); and a thoroughly entertaining parade of European explorers, mountain men and Indians. This series is "compare and contrast" gone wild: Old World/New World, nature/civilization, human/animal, male/female, adult/child, wild/domesticated, free/enslaved, alive/dead, young/old, European/American, white/Indian, crazy/sane, servant/master, safety/danger, historical fact/myth, tragedy/comedy and so on. McMurtry has neatly sandwiched genuine historical characters (who develop quite complex fictional personalities) and events of the 1830's into this western salad. I recommend THE WANDERING HILL for its entertainment value as well as its delineation of personalities that survive and thrive (or not) in the New World. While Cormac McCarty's ALL THE PRETTY HORSES illustrates the solitary visual beauty of man and nature in the American West, McMurtry's gift in The Berrybender Narratives is the clash and complexity of colliding souls and civilizations. Enjoy!
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on September 28, 2016
This is the type of book that you start to peruse and find it so intriguing that you keep reading it and then search for more volumes. I got hooked on the unusual story and keep wanting to read all of the volumes. Definitely some truth into how folks really functioned in the "old western frontier".
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on October 31, 2014
How can anyone not like the Berrybenders? How can anyone not be massively entertained by McMurtry's characters? I loved this series, better second time through. Read them years ago, and discovered them while moving some books. But I could only find three of the four...so I tracked down a matching print copy and bought it used so I could enjoy them all again. If I last ten more years, I'll wash, rinse, repeat.
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on February 17, 2015
The first of the four part saga of the British Berrybender Family saga, travelling in the west for hunting, etc. Lord B is very rich and takes most of his family and servants with him. Apparently they think they are going into the woods in England. Surprise!! Gruesome events overtake them because of their total inability to deal with primitive America and Indians.
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on November 9, 2015
To appreciate this book Start with Sin Killer followed by three more volumes go the life and times of the Berrybender family. This is not great literature, but is an interesting yarn of an English wealthy family and their servants become part of the american west. It is a very interesting read.
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on January 8, 2017
Certainly not McMurtry's best work, but entertaining and somewhat thought provoking. Interesting enough to spur me onward to complete the series.
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