Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Books

Last Kind Words Saloon  by Larry McMurtry is the story of the closing of the American frontier through the travails of two of its most immortal figures: Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday in Long Grass, Texas. The taciturn Wyatt seems lost between bottles, and the dentist-turned-gunslinger Doc is more interesting as he is dying slowly--more slowly than the era that made them famous. While not up to McMurtry’s best, Saloon is still a short, interesting read.

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom is according to the NYT, “a short, vibrant book about all kinds of people creating all kinds of serial, improvisatory lives.”  For me, the reviews were more interesting than the book. After being abandoned by their parents, half-sisters Eva and Iris share decades in golden-era Hollywood and mid-20th-century Long Island . They have lots of luck, much of it bad,  but the potential of the plot doesn’t develop for me—probably because of my lack of depth. 

*The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin is “is a lush, irresistible story of the public lives and private longings of grand historical figures.” A totally predictable love triangle involving  a clever, plainspoken heiress; a dashing  but almost impoverished horseman Captain; and  the beautiful, bored empress of Austria.  Despite a well-worn plot, Goodwin’s 2nd novel  places real historical characters is an engaging tale of manners and morals in Victorian England.

Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn received great reviews and is described as a “hilariously smart send-up of a certain major British literary award.” There are sharply drawn satirical portrayals of various literary types who ultimately give their award to an innovative  novel that is actually a cookbook. The writing is inventive and clever, but  after a few chapters it became ‘a tad’ tiresome.

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