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ICONS: A Tribute to Novelist Larry McMurty

We lost an icon this week. In tribute to one of the greats, read through our favorite quotes from Larry McMurty, author of Lonesome Dove and a powerful modern voice of the American West.

via Associated Press

“The old west is the phantom leg of the American psyche.”


“Incompetents invariably make trouble for people other than themselves.”


“If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.”


“Obviously, where art has it over life is in the matter of editing. Life can be seen to suffer from a drastic lack of editing. It stops too quick, or else it goes on too long. Worse, its pacing is erratic. Some chapters are little more than a few sentences in length, while others stretch into volumes. Life, for all its raw talent, has little sense of structure. It creates amazing textures, but it can't be counted on for snappy beginnings or good endings either. Indeed, in many cases no ending is provided at all.”


“Members of the Academy are mostly urban people. We are an urban nation. We are not a rural nation. It's not easy even to get a rural story made.”


“Life makes everybody strange, if you keep living long enough,”


“Only a rank degenerate would drive 1,500 miles across Texas without eating a chicken fried steak.” In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas

Lonesome Dove

“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.”


“Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back.”


“Nobody run off with her,” Roscoe said. “She just run off with herself, I guess.”


“From him to the stars, in all directions, there was only silence and emptiness.”


“But just let me tell you something, son, a woman's love is like the morning dew, it's just as apt to settle on a horse turd as it is on a rose. So you better just get over it.”


“He liked to get off by himself, a mile or so from camp, and listen to the country, not the men.”


“Young things mainly belong to themselves. How they grow up depends on who gets attached to them.”


“You better introduce yourself before you start talking Latin.”


“The cowboys had lived for months under the great bowl of the sky, and yet the Montana skies seemed deeper than the skies of Texas or Nebraska. Their depth and blueness robbed even the sun of its harsh force it seemed smaller, in the vastness, and the whole sky no longer turned white at noon as it had in the lower plains. Always, somewhere to the north, there was a swath of blueness, with white clouds floating in it like petals in a pond.”

via New York Times


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