Lonesome Dove

by Larry McMurtry

Posted Mar 26, 2021

Larry McMurtry died today and in tribute I'm recommending this book, my favorite novel. There are so many deep, interesting, lovable characters in this book. I was intensely sad that I could not spend more time with the characters as I approached the end, a feeling I had only experienced with The Goldfinch.

It's a love story and a western (or anti-western). It's about friendships, fatherhood, adventure. It's about life and forgiving yourself. It does not have enough women.

One unusual thing that's stuck with me is the extent that the American West itself is a character. The rivers are almost characters. The idea of judging distance not by miles or hours but by days or weeks to the next river or the next source of water. The idea of understanding geography as anchored by the Rio Grande, the Red, the Arkansas, the Missouri.

It's the kind of writing that fires your whole brain, sharing the sensations of the characters. The sights and smells and pains and fears.

I don't think it's a book for people who love any particular genre. It's for everyone. I think you'll like it, too.