Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen
Reflections on Sixty and Beyond
By Larry McMurtry
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9780684870199, 208pp.)
Publication Date: July 31, 2001
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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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 Archer City's Dairy Queen, McMurtry examines the small-town way of life that big oil and big ranching have nearly destroyed. He praises the virtues of everything from a lime Dr. Pepper to the lost art of oral storytelling, and describes the brutal effect of the sheer vastness and emptiness of the Texas landscape on Texans, the decline of the cowboy, and the reality and the myth of the frontier.
McMurtry writes frankly and with deep feeling about his own experiences as a writer, a parent, and a heart patient, and he deftly lays bare the raw material that helped shape his life's work: the creation of a vast, ambitious, fictional panorama of Texas in the past and the present. Throughout, McMurtry leaves his readers with constant reminders of his all-encompassing, boundless love of literature and books.
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.
The New York Times
Part memoir, part commonplace book, part tour de force.
William Murchison The Washington Times The kind of long, deep wisdom found between these covers should occasion long, deep thought, suitable for the Dairy Queen or for that matter anywhere.
Bill Bell New York Daily News A love story about books...[Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen] is a sweeping, thoughtful summation, as comfortable as old boots...Richly satisfying.