American Literature

Lonesome Dove, a masterpiece

I believe books find me and not the other way round. And, they find me only then when the timing is right. And Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtry) was around at exactly the right time. Truth be told, I had pretty much abandoned this book around page 62 or so. It was in the pile of books awaiting a prison sentence in my storage unit (Aaaaarrrrghhh how could I????). Somehow I kept seeing such rave reviews and I just didn’t understand. And then – fate intervened with one review amongst hundreds saying that one had to get past page 100. What was it that had pulled me to this particular one? The book doing its magic? Must have been because, true as Bob, once I got past that mystical page number I was totally hooked. I couldn’t put it down – not to eat, to sleep or any other reason. I devoured the remaining 845 or so pages in a matter of days.

You can almost feel the grit, grime and dust kicked up by the cattle and horses, smell the rain and clearly “see” absolutely everything described. Like I was magically drawn right into the centre of the story, physically! At times, I could even taste the dust. The characters were so clear in my mind that I felt I knew them as if they were with me in flesh and blood. They held such a special place in my heart that I sometimes just wanted to change things for the “better”, or rather to make things selfishly happier for them but obviously their flaws and experiences are exactly what makes the book what it is and changing anything would have been plain wrong.

How often do you come across a book so of so many pages yet never feeling it is getting a bit drawn out or time to wind up? Never the case here. I’m always in the middle of a book, yet for the first time in my life, I needed about two weeks on completing to mull it over, to savour the after-effect, to re-live in my mind the amazing experience I’d just had. It’s almost like no book would ever live up to this one and that reading anything else would make me a traitor.

I’ve purchased the other books (Streets of Laredo, Dead Man’s Walk and Comanche Moon) in the hope that they’ll be as good but I just can’t get myself to start them because I’m a bit scared of being let down. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be greedy and rather just stay in love with one special thing thus saving the heartache of disappointment and thereby losing some of the magic that Lonesome Dove holds.