A Tetralogy Is FOUR novels OR Book Review: Moving On by Larry McMurtry
Tetralogy. This was perhaps the most interesting vocabulary lesson in Larry McMurtry’s Literary Life. McMurtry wrote several times of his penchant for writing novels in tetralogies. Those who read my post on Rhino Ranch last week may remember that Rhino Ranch was the fifth and final volume of the series that began with The Last Picture Show. So without ever bothering to look it up, I erroneously inferred that tetralogy is a grouping of five and tried in vain to track down all of the Terms Of Endearment sequence. Eventually I RTFM’d and realized there are actually only four books in this (or any) tetralogy.
Moving On is the story of Patsy Carpenter’s first marriage to her husband Jim, a rich graduate student at Rice University in Houston. Much like Aurora Greenway, I have for many years had rather mixed feelings about Patsy, based upon my acquaintance with her in both Terms and The Evening Star. I was honestly thrilled to go back and read Patsy’s story, which includes Emma and Flap Horton, though not Aurora Greenway. Patsy and Jim seem to be a very mis-matched couple, both of whom have affairs with other graduate students in a time and place where sexual permissiveness was growing, although things were still quite straight-laced. Moving On was to a very real extent like visiting 1960-s0mething, and finding it rather pleasant compared to our current era. While Moving On did not quite change my feelings about the mature adult Patsy from The Evening Star, reading her story from the very beginning certainly improved my understanding of and sympathies for her. Now I just need to scare up a copy of All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, the second book in this tetralogy and the only one that I have not Read. For Larry McMurtry fans, Moving On is Highly Recommended.