by Larry McMurtry


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Texans have a very special God. He serves them overdoses of everything...pain, poverty, riches, heat, history. McMurtry catches it all in TEXASVILLE.

Remember THE LAST PICTURE SHOW? Thalia, in the '50s. Duanne and Jacy necking on the team bus, the echoing hopes and dreams of our last innocent generation. Well, this is its sequel.

Thalia got in the way of the oil boom and Duanne got rich. But all the money does is show how empty his life is. The boom turns to bust. In the crisis, Duanne and his fellow Thalians prove once again that Texans do indeed have a very special God!

"As funny and entertaining as THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, except that the characters have aged, so the humor is bittersweet. A fine and satisfying story." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780517694336
Publisher: Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/28/1989
Series: Thalia Trilogy Series , #2

About the Author

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.


Archer City, Texas

Date of Birth:

June 3, 1936

Place of Birth:

Wichita Falls, Texas


B.A., North Texas State University, 1958; M.A., Rice University, 1960. Also studied at Stanford University.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2

On the way to town Duane got on the CB and tried to check in with Ruth Popper, his outspoken secretary, who was actually no more outspoken than Karla, his wife, or Janine Wells, his girlfriend, or Minerva, his maid.

While he was becoming rich, the women in his life had become outspoken. He had stopped being rich, but they had not stopped being outspoken. Any one of them would argue with a skillet, or with whatever was being cooked in the skillet, or with whoever came by -- Duane himself, usually -- to eat what was being cooked.

He didn't really want to talk to Ruth, but there was always the faint chance that oil prices had risen during the night, in which case somebody with a little credit left might want an oil well drilled.

The CB crackled, but Ruth didn't answer. Shorty watched the CB alertly. At first he had barked his characteristic piercing bark every time it crackled, but after Duane had whacked him with his work gloves several hundred times Shorty got the message and stopped barking at it, though he continued to watch it alertly in case whatever was in it popped out and attacked Duane.

Just as the pickup swung onto the highway leading into Thalia, Ruth Popper jogged off the pavement and began to run up the dirt road. Ruth was a passionate jogger. She passed so close to the pickup that Duane could have leaned out and hit her in the head with a hammer -- though only if he'd been quick. Despite her age, Ruth was speedy. She wore earphones and had a Walkman, a speedometer, and various other gadgets attached to her belt as she ran. She also carried an orange weight in each hand.

She showed no sign of being aware that she had just passed withi had driven a cattle truck, Karla had sometimes come with him on his runs. He was just back from Korea; they were just married. It seemed to him he had passed through a town called Cotswold, though it might have been in Nebraska or even Iowa. But it didn't seem to him that the bar ditches in Kansas could be that much better to jog in than the bar ditches in Texas.

"Duane, it's in England," Karla said. "Don't you remember? We read about it in that airlines magazine the time we took the kids to Disneyland."

Duane didn't enjoy being reminded of the time they took the kids to Disneyland. Jack had almost succeeded in drowning Julie on the log ride. Dickie, who hated to spend money on anything except drugs, got caught shoplifting. He tried to steal his girlfriend a stuffed gorilla from one of the gift shops. Nellie disappeared completely, having decided to run off to Guaymas with a young Mexican she met on one of the rides. They stopped in Indio so Nellie could call her boyfriend in Thalia and tell him she was breaking off their engagement. The boyfriend managed to reach Karla and Duane, and the runaways were stopped at the Arizona line.

Nine months later, having married and divorced the boy she had meant to break up with, Nellie had Little Mike, their first grandchild. He did not look Hispanic, or bear any resemblance to the husband she had had so briefly.

"They say travel's broadening," Karla remarked, on the flight home from Disneyland.

Duane looked up just in time to see Jack slip two ice cubes from his Coke down the neck of a little old woman who had been brought on board in a wheelchair and dumped in the seat in front of him.

"Whoever said that never traveled with our kids," Duane said a s the old lady began to writhe in her seat. "I'm telling you right now I'll commit suicide before I'll go anywhere with them again."

He glanced at Julie to see what evil she might be contemplating. Julie wore dark glasses with huge purple frames. She had a teen magazine spread over her lap and her hand under the magazine. Duane decided to his horror that she was playing with her crotch.

"What did you say, Duane?" Karla asked. "I was reading and didn't hear."

"I said I'd commit suicide before I'd go anywhere else with these kids," he said.

"Duane, don't brag," Karla said. "You know you're too big a sissy even to go to the hospital and get a shot."

She noticed the little old lady, who was writhing more desperately as the ice cubes worked their way down her back.

"I hope that old lady isn't going into convulsions," she said.

Duane had been trying to decide where his duty lay. Should he try to help the old lady get the ice cubes out, which would practically mean undressing her? Should he grab Jack and break his neck? Should he demand that his son apologize? Jack was an ingenious liar and accepted no punishment meekly. The more blatant his crimes, the more brilliant he became in his own defense. Duane began to get a headache. He felt like strangling his son. He wondered if the stewardesses realized that his beautiful little daughter was playing with her crotch. Dallas-Fort Worth seemed very far away.

"Duane, don't sulk, it was a real nice trip in some ways," Karla said.

Copyright © 1987 by Larry McMurtry

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

The New York Times Texasville shows off at his popular storytelling best.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer Larry McMurtry is the most entertaining novelist in America.

San Francisco Chronicle A raucous farce and coming-of-age without growing up...

The Washington Post Texasville crackles with energy, humor, and passion.

New York Post As Texasville unfolds, sentences practically tumble over one another in a race for laughs....McMurtry is hot after a seriocomic study of a man trying to find mental balance in a Texas of which he observes, "Seems to me it's so glorious it's just about driven us all crazy."...There are plenty of eye-catching roadside sights to enjoy along the route.

The Wall Street Journal Mr. McMurtry's town, Thalia, is glutted with bed hoppers, maniacs, juvenile delinquents, stupid pets, suicidal bankers, and war mongering OPEC bashers — all brought to peaks of comic energy....Madness reigns and it is quite amusing.

Liz Smith New York Daily News Texasville is just as funny as can be. Such a kick to read that I predict its popularity may well outstrip Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winner, Lonesome Dove.

The Philadelphia Inquirer Texasville is simply great.

United Press International With Texasville, McMurtry has written an ideal sequel. The characters from The Last Picture Show have grown deeper, wiser, and more interesting, just as McMurtry's writing has done.

The Washington Post Texasville is a big ol' mess of a book: long, haphazardly plotted, exuberant, populous, good-spirited...the sexual activity is vigorous and varied and described with considerable relish...the novel's intelligence and its compassion are what really matter, and in this, Texasville is of a piece with all of McMurtry's best work.

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Texasville 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many Larry McMurtry books. This is the worst of the probably seven books by this author that I have read. Texasville dwells on the neuroses of the small town cast, but the characters become so farcical that they are not believable. The Last Picture Show is a much better book than this. I'm afraid to think of what the third book of this trilogy is like. In my opinion, this author is much better in his books placed in the west, although I did enjoy his most recent book of reflections at a Dairy Queen.
rocketjk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is the 1980s, and the small Texas oil town, Thalia, which we first visited in Larry McMurtry's [The Last Picture Show], is reeling from the OPEC-driven crash in oil prices. We see the town through the eyes of Duane Moore, also the protagonist of Picture Show. Moore owns the small, local oil company that until recently has employed a good many of the town's citizens and kept the Thalia economy humming. Now, as oil prices keep falling and the bottom falls out of the recent boom, he faces bankruptcy and the town faces economic disaster. Sounds pretty grim, but this book is in fact a dark comedy, as the town, unhinged by these developments, becomes whackier and whackier. Duane's family is nuts, his friends are going nuts, and the preparations for the town's Centennial Celebration, of which Duane is chairman, grow more contentious and ever more absurd. McMurtry puts it this way:"{Duane} had never supposed that people really lived as they ought to live, but he had gone through much of his life at least believing there was a way they ought to live. And Thalia of all places--a modest small town--ought to be a place where people lived as they ought to live, allowing for a normal margin of human error. Surely, in Thalia, far removed from big-city temptations, people ought to be living on the old model--putting their families and neighbors first, leading more or less orderly, more or less responsible lives.But he knew almost everyone in Thalia--indeed, knew more than he wanted to know about most of them--and it was clear from what he knew that the old model had been shattered. The arrival of money cracked the model; it's departure shattered it. Irrationality now bloomed as prolifically as broom weeds in a wet year."Duane's confusion and despondency grow, as his wife seems disappointed in every word out of his mouth and his marriage seems to be slipping away.I found the first half of this book to be excellent indeed, with many spot-on, wry observations about small town life and human nature within that growing irrationality of the town's denizens. I frequently laughed out loud while recognizing quite clearly the solid humanity of the characters. The second half, I think, loses steam, but not nearly to the extent that it robs the book of its enjoyability or value. And, happily, the last 40 pages or so are excellent. I do recommend this book.
burnit99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The sequel to "The Last Picture Show", which introduced Duane Moore and the various denizens of the small Texas town of Thalia. It is some 30 years later, and Duane is now an oilman who achieved riches during the oil boom, and is now deep in debt along with everybody else in town because of the worldwide oil glut. He and his wife Karla somehow have forged a lasting marriage, but it's not immediately clear what it's based on, what with various affairs, misunderstandings and arguments twixt the two of them. Thalia becomes an immeasurably more complicated place for Duane when his high school girlfriend Jacy returns from Europe after the death of her child, and somehow strikes up a strong bond with Karla and the rest of Duane's family, even his dog Shorty. All this takes place during the town's centennial celebration, which evolves into a manic affair wilder and more surreal than anything Garisson Keillor imagined in his books. I seem to have somehow wandered into these books near the end of the story, and have been working my way backwards. All that remains is the one that started it, "The Last Picture Show", to which I look forward with a finely-honed antictipation.
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While this book is of a different style than his usual, it is extremely comical and quite a fun read (probably less so for the learned). While not believable, we have all met 'white trash' who suddenly come into money. Their antics are hysterical. I highly recommended it if you want to be entertained.