Picks and Pans Review: Cadillac Jack

updated 11/15/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/15/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Larry McMurtry

Why would a dealer in art objects, who is supposed to be able to spot ancient Chinese vases and $150,000 manuscripts, drive a pearl-white Cadillac that a pimp wants to buy from him? Why would a beautiful social climber take him to bed with her? Why would anyone give this aimless, wandering, unfocused hero the time of day? Is he supposed to be today's American, rootless and pastless? McMurtry, the author of several novels about Texas, including The Last Picture Show and Horseman, Pass By (which became the hit movie Hud), has moved his Texas characters to Washington, DC, where McMurtry himself has co-owned a rare-book store for 12 years. They don't travel well. The main character is six feet six, wears Western clothes and gets invited to elegant social events just so McMurtry can tell some outlandish stories that add up to nothing. This is a funny book, but vulgar and extravagant to the point of losing any resemblance to reality. Two little girls, daughters of a woman antique dealer whom the hero thinks he might love, are wonderfully described. Their unexpected, funny behavior rings true, and the book flickers to life whenever they are on the scene. They deserve to be in a better novel altogether. (Simon and Schuster, $15.95)

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