Larry McMurtry uses Walter Benjamins essay Illuminations to reflect on the idea of the storyteller. When the Dairy Queens started opening up in the small isolated towns all over Texas they became the defacto town squares where all of the residents would meet to share stories and gossip. His local Dairy Queen serves as McMurtry's place to reflect on the history of his town, family, his body of work and most of all his love of reading. RIP the great Larry McMurtry
In a lucid, brilliant work of nonfiction, Larry McMurtry has written a family portrait that also serves as a larger portrait of Texas itself, as it was and as it has become.
Using an essay by the German literary critic Walter Benjamin that he first read in Archer City's Dairy Queen, McMurtry examines the small town way of life that big oil and big ranching have nearly destroyed. He praises the virtues of everything from a lime Dr. Pepper to the lost art of oral storytelling, and describes the brutal effect of the sheer vastness and emptiness of the Texas landscape on Texans, the decline of the cowboy, and the reality and the myth of the frontier.
McMurtry writes frankly and with deep feeling about his own experiences as a writer, a parent, and a heart patient, and he deftly lays bare the raw material that helped shape his life's work: the creation of a vast, ambitious, fictional panorama of Texas in the past and the present. Throughout, McMurtry leaves his readers with constant reminders of his all-encompassing, boundless love of literature and books.
About the Author
Larry McMurtry (1936–2021) was the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lived in Archer City, Texas.
Thomas Mallon The New York Times Part memoir, part commonplace book, part tour de force.
William Murchison The Washington Times The kind of long, deep wisdom found between these covers should occasion long, deep thought, suitable for the Dairy Queen or for that matter anywhere.
Bill Bell New York Daily News A love story about books...[Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen] is a sweeping, thoughtful summation, as comfortable as old boots...Richly satisfying.