When The Light Goes
I’ve long been a huge Larry McMurtry fan. While I don’t care for the Western genre and was never able to get into Lonesome Dove or any of his other westerns, I have very greatly enjoyed his novels about modern day Texans. My all time favorite is The Evening Star which was a sequel to Terms Of Endearment. I have also greatly enjoyed his sequence of novels about Duane Moore of the fictional Thalia, Texas which began in 1966 with The Last Picture Show and continued with Texasville in 1987, Duane’s Depressed in 1999 and finally in 2007 with When The Light Goes. It was thrilling to me to return for a few hours to McMurtry’s Texas and I say without hesitation that this volume finds McMurtry at the top of his form as a novelist.
As the novel begins Duane has been a widow for two years since his wife Karla died in a head on collision with a milk truck and Duane has taken to bicycling everywhere and living in his cabin, not having set foot in the huge house he had shared with Karla since her death. After undergoing psychotherapy Duane buys a new pickup and begins to embark on a new life without Karla. His lifelong friend and long-time employee Ruth Popper dies of old age and in a romantic ending Duane embarks on a new marriage to a woman many, many years his junior.
I was slightly disappointed that this was easily the shortest novel in the series, though this is tempered by the perception that on the whole the novel seems perfectly paced and just exactly the proper length to tell this particular story. I only hope that McMurtry (now in his 70′s) will be able to do one more installment in this remarkable series. For fans of Last Picture Show and the earlier Duane books this one is Not To Be Missed–Very Highly Recommended. Those not familiar with the back story might prefer to read the earlier books before reading this one. Recommended.