Cover image for The evening star : a novel
The evening star : a novel
McMurtry, Larry.
Personal Author:
First Scribner paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Physical Description:
637 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Sequel to: Terms of endearment.
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Library

On Order



Larry McMurtry's Terms of Endearment touched readers in a way no other story has in recent years. The earthy humor and the powerful emotional impact that set this novel apart rise to brilliant new heights with The Evening Star .

McMurtry takes us deep into the heart of Texas, and deep into the heart of one of the most memorable characters of our time, Aurora Greenway--along with her family, friends, and lovers--in a tale of affectionate wit, bittersweet tenderness, and the unexpected turns that life can take. This is Larry McMurtry at his very best: warm, compassionate, full of comic invention, an author so attuned to the feelings, needs, and desires of his characters that they possess a reality unique in American fiction.

Author Notes

Larry McMurtry, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, among other awards, is the author of twenty-four novels, two collections of essays, two memoirs, more than thirty screenplays, & an anthology of modern Western fiction. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

(Publisher Provided) Novelist Larry McMurtry was born June 3, 1936 in Wichita Falls, Texas. He received a B.A. from North Texas State University in 1958, an M.A. from Rice University in 1960, and attended Stanford University. He married Josephine Ballard in 1959, divorced in 1966, and had one son, folksinger James McMurtry.

Until the age of 22, McMurtry worked on his father's cattle ranch. When he was 25, he published his first novel, "Horseman, Pass By" (1961), which was turned into the Academy Award-winning movie Hud in 1962. "The Last Picture Show" (1966) was made into a screenplay with Peter Bogdanovich, and the 1971 movie was nominated for eight Oscars, including one for best screenplay adaptation. "Terms of Endearment" (1975) received little attention until the movie version won five Oscars, including Best Picture, in 1983.

McMurtry's novel "Lonesome Dove" (1985) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 and the Spur Award and was followed by two popular TV miniseries. The other titles in the Lonesome Dove Series are "Streets of Laredo" (1993), "Dead Man's Walk" (1995), and "Comanche Moon" (1997). The other books in his Last Picture Show Trilogy are "Texasville" (1987) and "Duane's Depressed" (1999).

McMurtry suffered a heart attack in 1991 and had quadruple-bypass surgery. Following that, he suffered from severe depression and it was during this time he wrote "Streets of Laredo," a dark sequel to "Lonesome Dove." His companion Diana Ossana, helping to pull him out of his depression, collaborated with him on "Pretty Boy Floyd" (1994) and "Zeke and Ned" (1997). He co-won the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006. He made The New York Times Best Seller List with his title's Custer and The Last Kind Words Saloon.

McMurtry is considered one of the country's leading antiquarian book dealers.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

McMurtry's latest offering is a continuation of Terms of Endearment featuring many of the characters that appeared in that novel--notably the irascible and indomitable Aurora Greenway, one of the great female characters in recent fiction. Here Aurora displays the same tough-and-tender character traits that helped get her through the death of her daughter, Emma, at the close of Terms; but, being older, the vagaries of life and fate are nevertheless beginning to wear her down. The story picks up several years after Emma's death, when Aurora's three grandchildren (the children of Emma) have all grown up into troubled adulthood. Tommy, the oldest, is in prison for killing his girlfriend; brother Teddy is a depressive genius prone to nervous breakdowns; sister Melanie is fat, pregnant, and demonstrably incapable of finding a decent man. It is testimony to McMurtry's consummate skills as a writer that he can wring a great deal of humor out of the trials and tribulations of this ill-starred family--which he does, most often and most memorably, by recounting Aurora's complicated romantic entanglements with a series of aged, and generally eccentric, suitors. But, as always in a McMurtry novel, the humor is offset by a lot of tragedy, sorrow, and death--especially death. All of this is McMurtry's way of telling us that life is sometimes joyous, frequently painful, and usually unpredictable. Fortunately, it can also be downright hilarious, as readers of this book are certain to discover. (Reviewed Apr. 15, 1992)0671685198Steve Weingartner

Publisher's Weekly Review

Here old age and death catch up with some beloved McMurtry characters familiar to readers since Terms of Endearment . Willful, tart-tongued Aurora Greenway and her outspoken maid and confidante, Rose Dunlup, sp ok? yes are in their 70s when this book begins; Aurora's lover, Gen. Hector Scott, is nearing 90. Their eccentricities have been exacerbated by the passing of years. Still greedy for life and sexual fulfillment, Aurora convinces Hector that they need psychoanalysis to ensure his better performance; then she begins an affair with the therapist, who is 30 years her junior. Aurora's grandchildren, the legacy of her dead daughter, Emma, are painfully neurotic: former dope dealer Tommy is in prison for manslaughter; though trying maintain mental stability with Jane and their adorable baby, Teddy again comes close to breakdown; pregnant Melissa's feckless boyfriend abandons her for a woman with a Ferrari. The vicissitudes of all these lives occupy the overlong narrative, which blends humor and bathos, snappy dialogue and tedious conversations. When McMurtry is at his best, as in capturing the wise and witty exchanges between Aurora and Rosie, the novel is irresistible. Often, however, the meandering `meanders' in next review. I have restored because the word is important here. Let's move the reviews around. Please lift this one and place it 3rd or 4th in the drop. thanks sss plot seems interminable. Readers who quit in frustration will miss the poignant last third of the novel, in which several lives come to a close. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured alternate. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

McMurtry's latest novel picks up Aurora Greenway's life 17 years after her exploits in Terms of Endearment . Now in her mid-60s, Aurora still manages to both enchant and infuriate with her queenly world view and unswerving tastes, including a perpetual quest for new beaux. The capricious, generally directionless characters lead lives fraught with whimsy but also with sorrow, a sense of time escaping before life's real purpose is revealed. The cast includes General Scott, Aurora's increasingly senile ``old boyfriend''; her maid and best friend, Rosie; her three grown grandchildren, all slightly damaged in some central way; as well as a variety of suitors. The connections between people in this novel, characterized by humor and serenity, run deep and sympathetic. Yet, as in life, there is a fair quotient of the unexpected and the tragic. McMurtry speaks from the heart with the gentle voice of acceptance. Don't miss this rare and wonderful book. Highly recommended for all audiences. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/92.--Marilyn Jordan, Keiser Coll. Lib., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter 1 On their monthly visits to the prison, Aurora drove going and Rosie drove home. That was the tradition, and there was good reason for it: seeing her grandson behind bars, being reminded yet again that he had killed a woman, realizing that in all likelihood she would be seeing him only in such circumstances for the rest of her life, left Aurora far too shaken to be trusted at the wheel of a car -- particularly the sputtery old Cadillac she refused to trade in. Aurora managed the Cadillac erratically under the best of circumstances, and visiting Tommy in prison could not be called the best of circumstances. Rosie and everyone else who knew Aurora felt sure the Cadillac would be the death of her someday, but it would not have been wise to reiterate this fear on the return trip from Huntsville, when Aurora would have been only too happy to die on the spot. Aurora, in the midst of a bitter fit of sobbing, nonetheless reached up and twisted the rearview mirror her way, in order to regard her own despair. It was an old habit: when sorrow beset her, as it now did regularly, she often grabbed the nearest mirror, hoping, through vanity alone, to arrest it in its course before it did her too much damage. This time it didn't work, not merely because she was crying so hard she couldn't see herself at all, but because Rosie -- a woman so short she could barely see the traffic in front of her, much less that which she knew to be in pursuit, immediately grabbed the mirror and twisted it back. "Don't do that, hon, I got to have my mirror!" Rosie said, panicked because she heard the sound of a huge truck bearing down on them, but lacked a clue as to exactly how close it might be. "There's an eighteen-wheeler after us -- if that sucker ran over us we'd be squished like soup in a can," she added, wishing they were in Conroe, so perhaps Aurora would quit crying, shaking, and scattering wet Kleenex around. The prison where Tommy was doing fifteen years to life was in Huntsville, Texas. Conroe, Texas, thirty-two miles to the south, down an Interstate rife with eighteen-wheelers, was the nearest point at which Aurora could reasonably be expected to regain control of her emotions. Until then, all Rosie could do was stay out of the fast lane and drive for dear life. "I just wish you'd do something I ask you for once in your life and buy us a Datsun pickup," Rosie said. "We'd stand a lot better chance on this racetrack if we had a vehicle I could see out of." To her relief she noticed the eighteen-wheeler sliding smoothly past them on her left. Aurora didn't respond. Her mind was back with Tommy, the pale, calm boy in the prison. He had always been the brightest of her dead daughter's three children. His grades had never been less than excellent, unlike those of her other grandchildren, Teddy and Melanie, both such erratic scholars that it was hardly even fair to use the word "scholar" when referring to their academic careers. "We're almost to Conroe," Rosie said unwisely, hoping it might cause Aurora to stop crying a little sooner than usual. "Who gives a fuck where we are!" Aurora yelled, flaring up for a moment before crying a fresh flood. Rosie was so shocked she almost rear-ended a white Toyota suburban. Only three or four times in their long acquaintance had she heard her employer use that particular word. Shortly after they sped past the first Conroe exit, Aurora calmed a little. "Rosie, I'm not a robot," she said. "I do not have to stop crying just because we happen to be passing Conroe." "I wish I hadn't brought it up," Rosie said. "I wish I hadn't never been born. But most of all I wish we had a Datsun pickup -- the seat of this car is so old it's sinking in, and if it sinks in much farther I won't be able to see anything but the speedometer. Then an eighteen-wheeler will probably run over us and squish us like soup in a can." "This car is not a can and we will not be squished like soup," Aurora declared, sniffing. "You've chosen a bad figure." "Yeah, I was always flat-chested, but I didn't choose it, God did it to me," Rosie said, thinking it odd that Aurora would mention her lifelong flat-chestedness at such a time. "Oh, figure of speech, I meant," Aurora said. "Of course you didn't choose your bosom. What I meant to point out is that there's nothing souplike about either one of us. If you get squished, it'll be like a French fry, which is what you resemble." Aurora felt no better, but she did feel cried out, and she began to mop her cheeks with a wad of Kleenex. She had already scattered several wet wads on the seat. She gathered these up, compressed them into one sopping mess, and threw the mess out the window. "Hon, you oughtn't to litter," Rosie admonished. "There's signs all up and down this highway saying don't mess with Texas." "I'll mess with it all I want to," Aurora said. "It's certainly messed enough with me." When her vision cleared a bit more, she noticed that a stream of cars and trucks was flowing past them. Looking back, she saw with alarm that a very large truck seemed to be practically pushing them. "Rosie, are you going the correct speed?" she asked. "We're not exactly leading the pack." "I'm going fifty-five," Rosie said. "Then no wonder that truck just behind us has such an impatient aspect," Aurora said. "I tell you every time we come here that the legal speed is now sixty-five, not fifty-five. You had better put the pedal to the metal, if that is the correct expression." "The pedal's to the metal, otherwise we wouldn't be moving at all," Rosie said. "Why do you think I been bugging you about a Datsun pickup? I could push the pedal through the radiator and this old whale wouldn't go more than fifty-five. Besides, the speed limit's only fifty-five when you're going through a town, and we're going through Conroe." "Don't be pedantic when I'm sad," Aurora said. "Just try to go a little faster." Rosie, in a daring maneuver, attempted to pass the sluggish white Toyota just as a truck behind them pulled out to pass them. The driver honked, and Rosie instantly whipped her arm out the window and gave him the finger. Then, not appeased, she actually stuck her head out the window, turned it, and glared at the truck driver. Unimpressed, the truck driver honked again, while Rosie, pedal to the metal, inched grimly past the white suburban. "Well, you don't lack spunk -- you never have or I'd have squished you myself," Aurora said. The trucker, perhaps annoyed, perhaps amused, began to tap his horn every few seconds, and Rosie -- definitely not amused -- stuck her arm out the window and left it there, with her middle finger extended for his benefit. The sight of her maid sustaining a rude gesture while virtually beneath the wheels of a giant truck made Aurora laugh. A vagrant bubble of mirth rose unexpectedly from inside her, but she had no more than started a little peal when sorrow came back in a flood and overran amusement, just as her Cadillac seemed about to be overrun by the eighteen-wheeler. "I hope it kills us, then this will be over!" she cried, as she was crying. "I'm from Bossier City, and I ain't about to be bullied by no truck," Rosie said. She calculated that she now had at least a three-or-four-inch lead on the Toyota and was nerving up to make her cut to the right. When Aurora calmed for the second time they were well down the road past the airport exit -- she could see the skyscrapers of downtown Houston through the summer haze. "I can no longer laugh without beginning to cry," she reported, rolling down her window. She proceeded to mess with Texas to the extent of another fifteen or twenty Kleenex. "You wasn't really laughing, you was just mainly crying," Rosie said. Copyright © 1992 by Larry McMurtry Excerpted from The Evening Star by Larry McMurtry All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.