Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

The Evening Star

Posted by nliakos on March 9, 2007

by Larry McMurtry; audiobook narrated by Dana Ivey

The Evening Star continues the story of Aurora Greenway, the eccentric, self-centered widow of Terms of Endearment.  Twenty years after the death of her daughter Emma, Aurora and Rosie have raised Emma’s three children, only to see one  put in prison for murder, another recently discharged from a mental hospital, and the third pregnant by a most unsuitable young man.  Aurora (amazingly) has permitted General Hector Scott to live with her all this time, but he has grown old and a bit dotty.  Aurora’s deepest relationship seems to be with Rosie Dunlop, her maid, who has worked for her for 40 years.

This book is darker than its predecessor; the tragedy of Tommy Horton (the murdering grandson) weighs particularly heavily on Aurora, sending her into a deep depression every time she visits him in prison.  Now in her seventies and with most of her former suitors dead, Aurora is finding it more and more difficult to hold on to her old spirit.  She attempts to find redemption in a new love affair with a younger man, but it only makes her feel older.  I liked Aurora more in this book; McMurtry depicts her more sympathetically.  Still, it’s sad to see her brought low by age.

McMurtry has an irritating habit of compressing years into a few paragraphs or pages of background.  I found myself thinking again and again, if he has so much to say about a character, why doesn’t he take his time telling the tale?  He seems to be in a rush to get it all out.  Maybe he’s just trying to include too much about too many disparate characters in one book.

The character I felt the most sympathy for was Rosie (except for when she bursts out crying at inopportune moments,  which happens rather too often).  Her life has been a big disappointment, from her poor choices in men to the seven children who barely communicate with her.  Her best friend is Aurora, who has tyrannized her for 40 years.  I’m not really sure that the care and kindness eventually shown Rosie by Aurora are in character, but I was glad of it.  Rosie deserved no less.

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