Picks and Pans Review: By Sorrow's River

UPDATED 12/01/2003 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/01/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

by Larry McMurtry

bgwhite bgwhite   



The body count rises in this third novel of McMurtry's four-book tale of the Berrybenders, an oddball English family traipsing across the American West in the 1830s. Beset by misfortune and their own incompetence, the family encounter death or gruesome injury everywhere they pitch a tent. Ears are sliced off, heads are scalped, enemies' jaws are shattered, smallpox wipes out Indian tribes. While the first two volumes were farcical and humorous, this one is decidedly less lighthearted. These pioneers both meet hardship and inflict it.

As in its predecessors, the narrative is choppy, and only a few of the all too many characters—62 total—are fully developed. But the story has become edgier and more ominous. In this tale of the exploration, and exploitation, of the West, McMurtry is telling us something about our checkered past—and perhaps about our uncertain present.

NONFICTION

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters