LARRY McMURTRY: A LIFE (September, 2023)

“One of America’s beloved literary figures gets the biography he deserves . . . McMurtry is one of our most celebrated chroniclers of the West, and Daugherty, who has already written a great biography of Joan Didion, serves up his life with skill and affection.”–Esquire, 10/26/23.

A “book of prodigious size and scope . . . [full of] countless juicy behind-the-scenes details about the literary life .”–Peter Tonguette, The Washington Examiner,  10/20/23.

“[A] staggering and detailed new biography.”–The Houston Press, 10/6/23.

“Tracy Daugherty paints a vivid picture of the novelist.  His success might be partially due to geographical affinity–Daugherty grew up in Midland, a four-hour drive from Archer City, which isn’t far at all in Texas.  But it’s also the result of dogged research and sharp analysis–this is a wonderfully absorbing book, on par with McMurtry’s own enduring work.”–Michael Schaub, The Boston Globe, 9/19/23.

“Daugherty has a good grasp of Texas literary history and the cooperation of those closest to his subject . . . fascinating.”–Bryan Burrough, The Washington Post, 10/6/23.

“Tracy Daugherty–a seasoned biographer with a gift for lively storytelling–does a fine job of evoking the early influences and forces that shaped his subject.”–Times Literary Supplement (London), 9/8/23.

“In Larry McMurtry:  A Life, a new biography by Tracy Daugherty, the author of well-received books about Joseph Heller, Joan Didion, and Donald Barthelme, McMurtry emerges as a perpetually ambivalent figure, one who eventually became part of the mythology that he insisted he was attempting to dismantle . . .  McMurtry was an inveterate road tripper who collected friends like he collected books, and Daugherty’s biography is full of entertaining cameos.”–Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 9/18/23.

“In Larry McMurtry:  A Life, a very readable and even impressive biography, Tracy Daugherty discusses all of McMurtry’s books with both authority and affection.  Mr. Daugherty is also absorbing when he writes about McMurtry’s personal life and his nonwriting literary life . . . [he] understands Houston, and he writes well about McMurtry . . . excellently captur[ing] McMurtry’s restlessness.” –Greg Curtis, The Wall Street Journal, 9/15/23.

” . . . vastly entertaining . . .  [Daugherty] rakes his material into a story that has movement; he’s a good reader of the novels; he has an eye for anecdote and the telling quote; he builds toward extended set pieces, such as the filming of “The Last Picture Show” in Archer City, McMurtry’s hometown . . . He comprehensively covers McMurtry’s long career . . . This book is a study in vocation.”–Dwight Garner, The New York Times, 9/4/23.  Cover Story, New York Times Book Review, October 1, 2023.

“Daugherty’s diligently constructed biography will provide memories for those who lived in McMurtry’s era and recall well his novels, along with the movies and series that sprang from them.  It also will undoubtedly prove fascinating to aspiring young writers and anyone determined to understand the subtleties of American history.”–bookreporter, 9/15/23.

“Daugherty . . . is a steady guide through McMurtry’s world . . . The main achievement of Daugherty’s book is to make clear that McMurtry’s deep knowledge of and frequent disdain for the state [of Texas] was a combustible mixture that fueled his writing.”–Texas Monthly, September 2023.

“In this authoritative outing, literary biographer Daugherty traces the rise of author Larry McMurtry from ‘minor regional novelist’ to Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller . . . he takes [McMurtry] seriously and the literary analysis is keen . . . This is worth saddling up for.”–Publishers Weekly, 6/22/23.

“The late Pulitzer Prize-winning Texas novelist receives a thoughtful yet appropriate critical treatment in the hands of literary biographer Daugherty . . . Daugherty, who has chronicled the lives of Donald Barthelme, Joan Didion, and Joseph Heller, is a perceptive critic . . . [and] McMurtry emerges as a well-rounded if quirky human–and certainly a memorable one.  A definitive life of the novelist.”–Kirkus, starred review, 7/15/23.

“Daugherty blends authoritative research with resplendent prose, providing absorbing detail to illuminate how McMurtry’s childhood, academic career, domestic life, and friendships shaped his personality and work.  This flowing, even avuncular portrait definitively situates McMurtry’s oeuvre in the American canon.”–Booklist, starred review, 6/1/23.

“Tracy Daugherty’s sweeping and insightful biography allows us a fascinating look into the life and evolution of McMurtry’s outsized talent.”–Chris Cooper (July Johnson in Lonesome Dove).

“Tracy Daugherty has produced a superb biography of a remarkable, complicated subject.  Larry McMurtry led a nomadic life rich with friendships, loves and widespread achievements in literature, film, family and an avid contemplation of his origins:  a difficult undertaking for his biographer who would require a capacity for literary analysis to correct McMurtry’s skepticism about the value of his own work.  Daugherty’s book will go a long way in settling McMurtry’s place in American literature.”–Thomas McGuane.

“Tracy Daugherty’s genius as a biographer lies in the extraordinary detail he is able to glean of his subject’s daily life–and then the imaginative and insightful ways he contextualizes it.  This book firmly places the man in his time . . . Daugherty’s account is as engaging a read as the best of McMurtry’s own writing.”–Madison Smartt Bell.