Telegraph Days (Unabridged)
by Larry McMurtry
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Not since the publication of his own beloved classic Lonesome Dove has there been a novel like this one, another big, brilliant, unputdownable saga of the West from Larry McMurtry. Telegraph Days is at once a major work of literature and a completely absorbing read; not just great fiction, but fiction on a great scale, encompassing many years, many characters, real and fictional, and the whole vast landscape of place, time, life, and heart, which has served for more than 130 years as the background for "the Western" in fiction and on the screen. Nobody writes, or has ever written, better about the West than Larry McMurtry, and nobody has caught better in words its myths, its often brutal reality, its overwhelming size, and the way it captured both the imagination and the hopes of those who settled there, only, as was so often the case, to dash those hopes. Told in the voice of Nellie Courtright, a spunky, courageous, attractive young woman whose story this is in part, Telegraph Days is the big novel of the Western gunfighters that people have been hoping for years Larry McMurtry would write.
Finding a piece of the real west.....this is a window into history.
It's very unlikely that there will come another writer like Larry McMurtry, that is a shame that comes with a blessing. Through his mind we can feel the grittiness of the dirt streets of frontier towns, recoil at the presence of wild animals that invade the structures, and chuckle at the humor and innocence of the sexual exploits of his characters. Larry McMurtry is the first author I've read that makes me feel like I was there.
Annie Potts does a superlative job at creating each character. I wondered how a woman was going to be able to bring the masculine quality to the male figures but as I allowed myself to imagine the entire picture I accepted her interpretation wholeheartedly. Her warm southern drawl is a perfect accompaniment for McMurtry's words and the snap in her voice adds whimsy to his wit.
If you enjoy westerns you will love this book. I see it as the gateway book to McMurtry's entire r'epertoire as I am sure you will too. Don't forget either that this extra ordinary writer is also responsible for 'Terms Of Endearment', 'The Evening Star', and the 1985 Pulitzer winning 'Lonesome Dove'.