Folly and Glory: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 4 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
This is the fourth and final volume in McMurtry's Berrybender Narratives (following By Sorrow's River), a frontier epic of lusty and bloody proportions, in which, fortunately, nearly everyone is killed off. Lord Berrybender, an arrogant and lecherous Englishman and his whining brood of daughters, their brats and servants have been arrested by Mexican authorities and are under house arrest in Santa Fe in the mid-1830s. Tensions between Mexicans and Americans run high as the dispute over Texas drifts toward war. When the Berrybender party is expelled from Santa Fe, the group is forced to march across the desert to Vera Cruz, escorted by inept Mexican soldiers. The grueling journey is filled with hardship and death as thirst, cholera and hostile Indians whittle the group by half. Meanwhile, Jim Snow, aka the Sin Killer, a famous mountain man, plans to rescue his white wife, Tasmin Berrybender, and her family somewhere along the desert route. Once the rescue is complete and the surviving Berrybenders are safely in Texas, Jim goes after the gang of slavers who murdered his son and his Indian wife (mountain men seem to have a lot of wives). Here McMurtry really shows why Jim is called the Sin Killer and why white men and Indians fear the mountain man who shrieks "the Word" and shows no mercy when he is riled up. Of the four books in the series, this is the bloodiest and most brutal, with rapes, torture, mutilation and death heaped upon the characters until grief and despair nearly consume them. Add the disaster at the Alamo and a passel of colorful Texas heroes to the enduring figures of mountain men Kit Carson and Tom Fitzpatrick, and this grisly frontier soap opera concludes with a bang.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This is the fourth and concluding volume of the Berrybender Narratives, McMurtry's saga of the four-year odyssey of the Berrybender family as they traverse the various river valleys of the American West in the 1830s. Once again, the heart of the story is the evolving relationship between Tasmin Berrybender and her enigmatic, primitive husband, Jim Snow. Both have changed. Tasmin has learned to cope with the physical demands of a nomadic life and the emotional demands and trauma of motherhood and death. Jim, still capable of savage violence, seems more tender and vulnerable here. As they and their familiar entourage journey eastward from Santa Fe, they encounter various historical personages, including William Clark, Charles Bent, and Davy Crockett. They also endure searing landscapes, cholera, and the constant threat of horrific brutality at the hands of Apaches, Kiowas, Commanches, and slave traders. As always, McMurtry is a gifted storyteller who seamlessly melds multiple plotlines, paints vivid images, and creates memorable literary characters. The ending, while leaving plenty of loose ends, seems satisfying and appropriate. This is a worthy close to an outstanding quartet that has shown McMurtry at his best. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Should you read this series? Had I known how bloody, painful and unpleasant the details would be, I wouldn't have started.
Since Lord Albany Berrybender first arrived in the United States with a major part of his family (at least the legitimate children) and a small army of servants, he's been looking forward to shooting everything in sight. In this installment (the last) of the four-part series, Lord Berrybender gets a chance to shoot at the most dangerous game of all . . . but rues that he missed a chance to kill a grizzly bear.
This story is not for those who are easily depressed. The book opens with Tasmin Berrybender totally distraught by the murder of her beloved Pomp Charbonneau. To make matters worse, she's pregnant . . . and not sure whether the father is her husband Jim Snow or Pomp. After giving birth, she's still depressed and sends Jim away.
The Berrybenders find themselves under arrest in Santa Fe for two years . . . both to line the government's pocket and to entertain the governor's wife. Lord Albany finds himself smitten with a teenage mistress . . . a liaison that has dangerous consequences for the party. While in Santa Fe, we learn about how the Mexicans liked to deal with Native American outlaws and pursue their private pleasures.
But all is thrown into disarray when the governor is dismissed and a troop comes to march the Berrybenders to Vera Cruz in anticipation of war with the United States. Jim Snow escapes and tracks the group to rescue the Berrybenders. But before he can do that, he has to rescue the Mexican army.Read more ›
The Berrybender Narratives are not something you can jump into. While McMurtry is incapable of writing badly, this series is best read from the beginning, as it is most definitely a sequential narrative. FOLLY AND GLORY begins with the Berrybenders under a forced yet luxurious house arrest in Santa Fe, Mexico. The mood of the party, particularly Tasmin Berrybender's, is somewhat subdued due to the murder of Pomp Charbonneau at the hands of a deranged Mexican Army captain. The party as a whole, however, passes the time in relative comfort. Their somewhat idyllic incarceration is abruptly ended, though, when it is learned that the Mexican authorities plan to arrest them --- for real this time --- and, in all probability, execute the entire party. Lord Berrybender plans to proceed to Texas, and the party effects a hurried exit out of the compound. Danger and death await at every turn, not only from pestilence but also from a party of slavers.Read more ›
This book is a wonderful ending to a wonderful series. I am only sad that I cannot find out what happens in the rest of Tasmin's life, or Jim's, for that matter, even though I didn't like him much in this book.
This series was amazing! Read it!
What I discovered was yet another fine work by McMurtry that was a joy to read. Regarding McMurtry's treatment of violence, I suspect his statement to the modern reader is that violence in the past was as everyday as eating, sleeping or breathing. To our mollycoddled world, where tragedy manifests itself most acutely in the outcome of the latest reality TV program or contest, McMurtry's nonchalant depictions of frontier violence may seem insensitive. But in a world where one could be moving along the trail swimmingly one minute and gasping for life the next with an Apache arrow in his breast it was likely very common to develop a rather McMurtryan viewpoint of life, of death and of the violence inherent to both.
As with the other three volumes of this series, FOLLY AND GLORY delivers a very engrossing tale with the usual cameo appearances of some of the geographical area's and period's most notable figures. From Old Santa Fe to the Alamo, FOLLY AND GLORY is another McMurtry triumph.
Most recent customer reviews
I did not intend to read the whole series, the Berrybender Narratives, but it drew me along to the end, Folly and Glory. This is easy, entertaining reading.Published on July 5 2004 by S
A fitting end to a great epic story. Larry McMurtry outdoes himself on the last segment of the Berrybender saga and as usual paints the West with his harsh but realistic brush. Read morePublished on July 2 2004 by Mr. Patrick N. Renaud
Folly and Glory is the last of the four books in the excellent tale. You must start with the first book, Sin Killer. Each story leaves you craving more. Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by Reeda
A slight change of pace from Book #3. After a lengthy stay in Santa Fe with the usual descriptions of Berrybender rhetoric and aristocratic decadence - there's a great conversation... Read morePublished on June 18 2004 by Pol Sixe
The final piece of the Berrybender Narratives, starts out strong, picking up where the the last three left off. Read morePublished on June 14 2004