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October 07 , 2008

In a Narrow Grave

Essays on Texas


Writing with characteristic grace and wit, Larry McMurtry tackles the full spectrum of his favorite themes – from sex, literature, and cowboys to rodeos, small-town folk, and big-city slickers.
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In a lucid, brilliant work of nonfiction – as close to an autobiography as his readers are likely to get – Larry McMurtry has written a family portrait that also serves as a larger portrait of Texas itself, as it was and as it has become.Using as a springboard an essay by the German literary critic Walter Benjamin that he first read in…

First published in 1968, In a Narrow Grave is the classic statement of what it means to come from Texas. In these essays, McMurtry opens a window into the past and present of America's largest state. In his own words:

"Before I was out of high school, I realized I was witnessing the dying of a way of life – the rural, pastoral way of life. In the Southwest the best energies were no longer to be found on the homeplace, or in the small towns; the cities required these energies and the cities bought them...."

"I recognized, too, that the no-longer-open but still spacious range on which my ranching family had made its livelihood...would not produce a livelihood for me or for my siblings and their kind....The myth of the cowboy grew purer every year because there were so few actual cowboys left to contradict it...."

"I had actually been living in cities for fourteen years when I pulled together these essays; intellectually I had been a city boy, but imaginatively, I was still trudging up the dusty path that led out of the country...."
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