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 one hundred thirty 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.
When Nellie and her brother Jackson are unexpectedly orphaned by their father's suicide on his new and unprosperous ranch, they make their way to the nearby town of Rita Blanca, where Jackson manages to secure a job as a sheriff's deputy, while Nellie, ever resourceful, becomes the town's telegrapher.
Together, they inadvertently put Rita Blanca on the map when young Jackson succeeds in shooting down all six of the ferocious Yazee brothers in a gunfight that brings him lifelong fame but which he can never repeat because his success came purely out of luck.
Propelled by her own energy and commonsense approach to life, Nellie meets and almost conquers the heart of Buffalo Bill, the man she will love most in her long life, and goes on to meet, and witness the exploits of, Billy the Kid, the Earp brothers, and Doc Holliday. She even gets a ringside seat at the Battle at the O.K. Corral, the most famous gunfight in Western history, and eventually lives long enough to see the West and its gunfighters turned into movies.
Full of life, love, shootings, real Western heroes and villains, Telegraph Days is Larry McMurtry at his epic best, in his most ambitious Western novel since Lonesome Dove.
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Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.From AudioFile:
McMurtry fondly, if not originally, evokes the post-Civil War West in this loosely organized story told by spunky Nellie Courtright. Brought to life by actress Annie Potts, Nellie tells how she and her brother seek their fortune on their own after the suicide of their father. With all the appeal of a tall tale, the story intersperses a quirky cast of fictional characters with such historical figures as Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, and Billy the Kid. Potts flawlessly narrates as though recounting her personal experience, using an understated Western accent that balances McMurtry's characteristic humor and exaggeration. This is an enjoyable example of an audiobook improving on its print version. S.K. [Editor's Note: A soundreview is available at Audiopolis, www.audiofilemagazine.com] © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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