At a panel at Saints and Sinners which I intend to post about later, the moderator had the writers read first lines from one of their works. On the Colorado trip, as we rode through small towns of the Texas Panhandle, I kept telling Tim I was looking for the last picture show. Later, when David Puterbaugh saw some of my photos from the trip, he, too, brought up the movie The Last Picture Show, which is a favorite of mine, along with Larry McMurtry’s novel. I also like the sequels to both the book (Texasville and Duane’s Depressed) and the movie (Texasville).
I’ve always been an avid McMurtry reader and once considered writing my Masters thesis on his works. Regarding this particular novel, I appreciate how McMurtry’s opening immediately puts me in the setting and inside Sonny’s head, and how the novel remains with me, so that I’m still looking for that old theater and Sonny, Duane, and Jacy in every small town.
Sometimes Sonny felt like he was the only human creature in the town. It was a bad feeling, and it usually came on him in the mornings early, when the streets were completely empty, the way they were one Saturday morning in late November. The night before Sonny had played his last game of football for Thalia High School, but it wasn’t that that made him feel so strange and alone. It was just the look of the town.