Larry McMurtry: A Life (Hardcover)
A biography of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry from New York Times bestselling author Tracy Daugherty.
In over forty books, in a career that spanned over sixty years, Larry McMurtry staked his claim as a superior chronicler of the American West, and as the Great Plains’ keenest witness since Willa Cather and Wallace Stegner. Larry McMurtry: A Life traces his origins as one of the last American writers who had direct contact with this country’s pioneer traditions. It follows his astonishing career as bestselling novelist, Pulitzer-Prize winner, author of the beloved Lonesome Dove, Academy-Award winning screenwriter, public intellectual, and passionate bookseller. A sweeping and insightful look at a versatile, one-of-a-kind American writer, this book is a must-read for every Larry McMurtry fan.
About the Author
Born and raised in Texas, Tracy Daugherty (he/him) is the author of over ten novels and short story collections, a memoir, a book of personal essays, a collection of essays on writing, a novella collection, and several literary biographies. His 2009 biography of Donald Barthelme, Hiding Man, was a New York Times and New Yorker Notable Book, and his 2015 biography of Joan Didion, The Last Love Song was a New York Times Bestseller. His work has been recognized by the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. At Oregon State University he helped found the MFA Program in Creative Writing.
"A definitive life of the novelist/bookseller/scriptwriter/curmudgeon of interest to any McMurtry fan." - Kirkus (starred review)
"Vastly entertaining... This is the first comprehensive biography of McMurtry, who died in 2021 at the age of 84... [Daugherty] is the right person for this job...He rakes his material into a story that has movement; he’s a good reader of the novels; he has an eye for anecdote and the telling quote; he builds toward extended set pieces." - The New York Times
“Larry McMurtry gave actors the gift of three-dimensional nuanced characters to bring to life in his Western masterpiece Lonesome Dove. Tracy Daugherty’s sweeping and insightful biography allows us a fascinating look into the life and evolution of McMurtry’s outsized talent." –Chris Cooper (July Johnson in Lonesome Dove)
"Tracy Daugherty has produced a superb biography of a remarkable, complicated subject. Larry McMurtry led a nomadic life rich with friendships, loves and widespread achievements in literature, film, family and an avid contemplation of his origins: a difficult undertaking for his biographer who would require a capacity for literary analysis to correct McMurtry's skepticism about the value of his own work. Daugherty's book will go a long way in settling McMurtry's place in American literature." –Thomas McGuane, author of Gallatin Canyon
"Tracy Daughtery’s genius as a biographer lies in the extraordinary detail he is able to glean of his subject’s daily life—and then the imaginative and insightful ways he contextualizes it. This book firmly places the man in his time, an important service to perform for Larry McMurtry, a writer who, as Daughtery justly appraises him, 'staked his claim as a superior chronicler of the American West and as the Great Plains’ keenest witness since Willa Cather and Wallace Stegner. He brought as much depth to his enterprise as William Faulkner brought to the South.' And Daughtery’s account is as engaging a read as the best of McMurtry’s own writing." –Madison Smartt Bell, author of Child of Light
“Literary biographer Daugherty blends authoritative research with resplendent prose, providing absorbing detail to illuminate how McMurtry’s childhood, academic career, domestic life, and friendships shaped his personality and work. This flowing, even avuncular portrait definitively situates McMurtry’s oeuvre in the American canon.” - Booklist, starred
"This is worth saddling up for." - Publishers Weekly
“In Larry McMurtry: A Life, a very readable and even impressive biography, Tracy Daugherty discusses all of McMurtry’s books with both authority and affection. Mr. Daugherty is also absorbing when he writes about McMurtry’s personal life and his nonwriting literary life, which were melded into one.” –Greg Curtis, Wall Street Journal
"Entertaining." - The New Yorker
"Daugherty’s diligently constructed biography will provide memories for those who lived in McMurtry’s era and recall well his novels, along with the movies and series that sprang from them." - bookreporter
"Daugherty has a good grasp of Texas literary history and the cooperation of those closest to his subject." - Wall Street Journal