April, 2018: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

(Book #96) Rosalie hosted this book and I know she wondered what she’d gotten herself into hosting a Western, but was surprised as the rest of us at how much she enjoyed the book. My email that evening was titled Lonesome Book Club:

When Teresa came out on the deck, the black dogs were chewing a Nyla bone — not a very big one. You dogs git, Teresa said. I gotta head on up to book club.  Melissa walked the river for an hour waiting for Teresa to show up to carpool. It was just an old habit she had, left over from wilder times. Sharon had never lived in a place for very long which made for quite a challenge to remember where to pick her up, but Melissa found her.  Linda stood in the door of her home waiting for Geri to head from work. Linda had in her mind to go to Evanston. Why Geri, you ought to see it; a prettier country never was. Susan’s mind had begun to dwell on the north for long stretches, she thought of Evanston, trying to imagine what it must be like. It was final: they were leaving. They saw to their equipment; once on the trail, opportunities for repair might be scarce. Here’s where we find out if we was meant to be a book club, Marcia said — for she had no doubt about the dangers. By Belmont the traffic had stopped completely — the excitement of one of the first Cubs games sparkled on the cars lining up to exit LSD. Traveling was even worse than Teresa had supposed it would be, and she supposed it would be pure hell. Linda knew right off that something was bothering Geri because she didn’t want to talk and Geri always wanted to talk. As the hours passed, Susan found she liked the traveling more and more — she watched her arms in her short-sleeved top getting slowly tanned and felt that a life of travel was what she was meant for. Before the van had passed Irving Park they nearly lost Sharon in a freak accident with the automatic open and close side door. Well, if we weren’t doomed to begin with, we’re doomed now. Teresa said yanking Sharon back into the van. North of Bryn Mawr, the country finally began to open up, to the relief of everyone. Near Devon, Melissa asked, You think that Indian’s around her somewhere?   Which one? Teresa said. This is an Indian neighborhood. Long before they struck Howard Street, Geri had begun to wonder if it was worth it. For twenty minutes it had rained hailed, lightning flashed. Everything she owned was wet and she didn’t like feeling like a muskrat, though it didn’t bother Linda. Once in Evanston, beyond the line of the grasshopper plague, the skies stayed clear and the ride went the smoothest it had gone. They made camp along a Ridge and Ro Campo stirred the coals of her cook fire. Everyone got a plate and ate a big meal. They expected Ro Campo to say something about the unusual bounty of the spread she’d put out but the cook merely dished out the food and said nothing. There was cheese and crackers, red and white wine, artichoke appetizers on toast, steaks, red beans and bacon, polenta with cilantro and asparagus with hollandaise. How Ro made the hollandaise over the campfire is still a mystery to us all. For dessert there were grasshoppers, no heck, that’s a lie, there was a fine bread pudding with whiskey sauce and we were all happy for the whiskey. Geri even took some in a jar.

Well, it’s still a work in progress, I’m no Larry McMurtry. But thank you thank you, thank you, Ro for a delicious meal!  I think we were all pleasantly high on how much we enjoyed the book, the wine, the incredible food and the company. I would like the beans recipe and Sharon wants the dessert recipe — we were trying to decide what exactly it was besides delicious. I put a short review of Lonesome Dove on the Book Movement website, if you’re interested in  or if you want to write one of your own. I am determined that our book club will be the BEST book club of the 48,000 on the site or my name’s not Tess Summerfest!
We will be meeting next month on Tuesday, May 15 at Sharon’s (in Michigan) to discuss True North by Jim Harrison. Sharon will be sending out an email with the info/address.
Respectfully submitted at 1:47,T

I wrote reviews on both Goodreads and Book Movement and this is a combo platter of both of them.  Five Stars, you ask, When I only gave Four Stars to the Dubliners? And I must sheepishly admit that this book really got to me. This novel is teeming in size and scope and yet there is a heartbreaking spareness. One moment in this book caused me to cry for half an hour and then I had to talk it over with both my husband and my daughter. The moment is just after Deets is lanced and killed by a young brave.             

Call asks Gus: This is on us, isn’t it? We should have pulled our guns sooner.    And Gus relies: 
I don’t want to start thinking about all the things we should have done for this man.
I don’t think I’ve ever read another sentence that brought such immediate tears to my eyes. It was heartbreaking and this from a woman who could barely stand to read the word “poke” as it was used in this novel!