I read a lot – usually at least two or three books a month. Some are total fails of bad writing or dud plot. Some are fun while they last but ultimately forgettable. And some really stick with me.
The most recent one to stick was actually written more than 30 years ago: Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1985 novel Lonesome Dove.
Some people call it a love story, some people call it a western. I’m not a big fan of romances or westerns. I prefer a pacey thriller. But I do like to try and pick up a ‘missed classic’ from time to time.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Lonesome Dove. The promos promised a ‘monumental novel which embraces the spirit of the last defiant wilderness of America’, which seemed like a tall order but turned out to be an accurate description.
The story is set in the harsh frontier lands of 1870s Old West America, and follows a couple of retired Texas rangers and their raggedy crew of cowboys as they set out across the plains from Texas to Montana. Their journey is epic and so is the story.
It’s beautifully written and by the end it’s hard to say goodbye to the characters.
If you’re interested in themes like friendship, love (sometimes unrequited), loss, personal insight, authority, virtue, old age, death or adventure, you’ll love this book. And even if you’re not, you’ll love this book.
It’s a long and intense read, but it’s worth it.