I read the 4 Berrybender books several years ago, and my initial evaluation was disappointment, as they were so silly and shallow compared to McMurtry's other novels. Its true that his characters are wonderful, but the events were so preposterous, I just couldn't understand why he would devote so many words to such an unbelievable story.
Now I think I've changed my mind. I've just read several novels of the Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1804-1806, and learned that over the next several decades, it became very popular to "recreate" the voyage. In fact, in the 1830-1840 period, a very wealthy Scotland Noble and his family did just that. Now I am wondering if these novels are some sort of a spoof on that very journey. I don't know why McMurtry may have found the idea ridiculous, but perhaps this is the basis of these novels.
If anyone has any info on this to confirm or deny, I'd appreciate hearing from you. Short of writing to McMurtry, it remains a mystery to me, as I haven't found any fact-based reviews of these books on the internet.
A fairly typical McMurtry book ~ like Lonesome Dove and the rest, the characters and situations are by turn funny, sad, silly and heartbreaking; but never dull. A complex story and still goes very fast and easy.
This is the first book in the "Berrybender Narratives" and I suspect that it sets the tone for the sequels.
If you like novels where the apparent main plot thread is everyone going around having casual sex like alley cats while they stumble across the West like pioneers on drugs, then this so-called western will delight you. I gave up about midway and tossed the book.
I gave this bunch of bound paper - it's an insult to countless writers to call it a novel - 1/2 star because I don't think the system allows me to give it no stars.
Jerry K. (kearb) - , reviewed Sin Killer (Berrybender Narrative, Bk 1) on
Larry McMurtry's dry humor is showcased within the varied and oddly curious characters in this book. at times the family characters, of which there are many, seemed to be totally unrelated by blood due to the various interests and ideas they each seem to follow. But then at other times something may happen and they are just appear similar in their reactions. The situations they find themselves in over and over due to their own selfish and set ways only leads to their real life developement as their story and life progresses.
This is a very long look at family and nonfamily characters in situations that I found got old about half way thru the story. I don't think I could make it thru the whole four (4) volumes.
I am now reading the second volume, The Wandering Hill: THE BERRYBENDER NARRATIVES, BOOK 2 and I am finding it harder and harder to follow and keep up with the unending line of charaters.
It is 1830 and the Berrybender family -- rich, aristocratic, English, and hopelessly out of place--is on its way up the Missouri River to see the untamed West as it begins to open up.
This is the first volume in the Berrybender Narratives. . .I have also posted the 2nd volume.
My husband I both have read the entire Berrybender series. I took all the volumes on a recent vacation (long, long 18 hour flight to Johannesburg) and finished the set during the trip.
My husband and I have completely different tastes in books (he loves historical non-fiction, while I enjoy more contemporary books) but we both enjoyed the Berrybenders.
True to McMurtry, filled with drama, comedy and a little romance. This series left us wondering how anyone ever made it west alive. Be sure to read this series in order to get the most out of it. Similar in style, but different from the Lonesome Dove saga.