Better known for his novel writing than his travel writing, Texan man McMurtry's
most famous works include the epic Western story of Lonesome Dove,
and the tear-jerking Terms Of Endearment and The Evening Star.
For much of his life he's been a keen collector of books and has owned a bookstore.
Acquiring many of his books has meant travelling great distances around
North America to both seek out and collect them, and so he is wise to
many of the interstates that criss-cross the continent.
Come the year 2000, and his days off from running his bookstore in his hometown
of Archer City (Working with books always relaxes me, but the books bring people, and
people are a mixed bag; there comes a point at which I want to be away, drive somewhere,
see some sky - it's my safeguard against the burnout that a month in the
bookshop can occasionally produce), Larry simply took off, hiring cars from various
cities around the US before driving back home and taking in the many sights on the way.
Presenting this 200-page book in stages, all his trips are captivating,
but the most exciting routes sound to extend across the South-West of the country,
even if it does sound to be a nightmare beating rush-hour traffic in LA on a Friday evening.
But once he's heading East from LA across vast deserts such as the Sonoran and
around Ajo (where there is reputed to be a beautiful mini-version of the mighty Monument Valley),
his insightful prose really bring such routes alive.
Bill Bryson attempted a similar sort of pilgrimage around the country in
his Lost Continent travels, and although Larry McMurtry's writing isn't half as funny as
Bryson's, you have to respect the fact that McMurtry has little intention
of offending people or places through being sarcastic.
Even if he Larry is blatantly honest about some places that he really hates..
Being such a lover of literature, many of his travels are peppered with literary
references, and time that he spends in Upper Michigan naturally makes reference to
Ernest Hemingway and Janet Lewis, who both used to live and write in the area.
He also spends time recalling his childhood and the life-changing event of having
had heart surgery, simultaneously dispensing sound advice to would-be travellers who
might like to drive in his skid-marks.
Indeed, Larry reveals, If one's passion is high plains travel, US 2 is as
good as it gets..the dream road.. the ideal path into the heart of the
US 2 had everything - the widest vistas, the greatest skies, and more history
than one traveller could possibly hope to exhaust.
Roads really is something of a unique piece of writing.
Sure, other writers have undertaken similar projects before, but McMurtry's
talent in bringing landscapes to life - all the while talking about
great American literature - is unprecedented.
But.. As it is with women, so it is with roads. There are too many nice ones. And so little time.
So savour every last one of both!
ISBN 0-75381-412-9 (ORION; first published in 2000)
Reviews, Books - Silk Dreams, Troubled Road by Jonny Bealby, By Steve Rudd
The third and final travel book in a fascinating and most exhilarating trilogy, this
epic account follows Jonny across the mountains of heaven on the Old Silk Road, from
Kashgar to the Caspian Sea. Or thereabouts, given that the horses on which Jonny and
'friend' travel are often beset
Reviews, Theatre - Up 'n' Under at Hull Truck Theatre with Cast Interview 23/07/2004 By Andy Dykes
John Godber's play 'Up 'n' Under' has enjoyed widespread success for twenty years.
So it's obvious that the story, although I have to admit I don't really know it,
does not need to be reviewed.
So I realise that if this report is going to be of any worth at all, tonight
I need to review the performance.
Reviews, Books - Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke By Steve Rudd
The definition of grace is the ability to accept change.
I needed to start calculating my masculinity not by the amount of pussy I could grab,
or how many girls I could bang, but by how true I could be with one girl.
How infrequently I could lie. How often I could show up when I was needed.
Reviews, Theatre - Up 'n' Under at Hull Truck Theatre By Nicholas Boldock
Once upon a time, there was a young boy called James Crossley. James liked to play sport and
did a lot of exercise. He bought himself some weights and trained hard until he became big and beefy.
When James grew up he grew his hair all silly so that he looked like a blond spaniel.
Then he became famous
Reviews, Events - Renegade Writers; A Review of Sorts By Alexander Porter
First off, this is not an objective review, having never been to a performance by this motley crew before I had expected a bunch of pretensions twenty something spouting angst, instead I got a pirate, an extremely pleasant surprise, second only to finding an entire packet of fags at three in the
Reviews, Theatre - Up 'n' Under with Talkback at Hull Truck Theatre By Elsie Creek
So, it's twenty years ago that John Godber showcased this, his first play for Spring Street Theatre,
for which he won the Laurence Olivier Comedy of the Year Award.
There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, as we were reminded in
the post-show talkback with director and cast.
Both Hull TruckRead more...
Reviews, TV - Big Brother Exposed By Lee Cassanell
If Kittens revolution had been supported by the rest of the housemates this years
Big Brother could have been one of the greatest television shows of all time.
Unfortunately, due to the anaemic sailor persona and an amazing lack of charisma, the
bi-sexual Che Guevara never quite managed too inspire
Reviews, Opera - Gilbert & Sullivan The Mikado at Middleton Hall, Hull University By Nicholas Boldock
Dagger Lane Operatic Society are old hands when it comes to Gilbert & Sullivan. - in fact,
they've been performing their operettas for 20 years now. Way back in 1984 their inaugural
production was HMS Pinafore.
This year, for their twentieth anniversary show, it was the most celebrated Gilbert & SullivanRead more...
Reviews, Books - Lovely Green Eyes By Arnost Lustig By Steve Rudd
This is truly an extraordinary novel, written by a man who survived the horrors
of Auschwitz, and who lived in fact to tell his tale. Bizarrely though, this
isn't so much his tale as a girl's story.. a 15-year-old girl called Hanka who
lies about being a Jew to survive, and who becomes a prostitute in due course.
Reviews, Theatre -
The Blockheads New Writing Festival Hull Truck Thursday June 24th Review by Jane Foster.
Special Guest Reviewers
Bernard Manning - Hilarious original Northern comedianTony Blair - The Prime Minister, not Lionel's brother you prancing thespians youThora Hird - Thoroughly nice old lady who's drop scones are the envy of, well..
other old ladies
An idealistic young teacher ( Kelly Hardy ) tries to