Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9780743250795, 256pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 2004
As "Loop Group" opens, we meet Maggie, whose three grown-up daughters have arrived at her Hollywood home to try and make her see sense about her life, which isn't easy, first of all because their own lives are a mess, and secondly because as far as Maggie is concerned her own life makes perfect sense. She is self-supporting, running a successful "loop group" dubbing movies, she has a lover (admittedly he is married, and her psychoanalyst, and very old), and leads a busy life that intersects with lots of interesting -- all right, bizarre -- people.
Still, her daughters push her into having a few second thoughts about her life, and these are reinforced when her best friend, Connie, seeks an escape from her own world of complex and difficult relationships with men. Since neither high-end nor low-end shopping seems to relieve their angst, and since a succession of sad events takes place that shakes Maggie to the core, she conceives the idea of driving to visit her Aunt Cooney's ranch near Electric City, Texas, and the two women prepare for the trip by buying a .38 Special revolver (which leads to unexpected trouble along the way). This road trip will end by changing their lives.
Tangling along the way with Hopi Indians, with a bearded vagrant who turns out to be an old acquaintance, with the theft oftheir car (and their revolver), and with every possible variety of cardsharp, faker, charmer, and crook, the two women eventually proceed through the desert landscape to Electric City and discover some home truths about life. When they return to Hollywood, they find that one of Maggie's old friends, an ancient MGM producer, has left her a gift that enables her to make a new start to her life and to bring a new measure of sanity to her family and friends.
Alternately hilariously funny and profoundly sad -- even tragic -- "Loop Group" is a major Larry McMurtry novel and a joy to read.