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Terms of Endearment di Larry McMurtry
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Terms of Endearment (originale 1975; edizione 2000)

di Larry McMurtry (Autore)

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
9221417,600 (3.88)26
Aurora Greenway is a widow, and likes being pursued by her suitors. She is about to become a grandmother and life seems to be speeding by.
Utente:VintageReader
Titolo:Terms of Endearment
Autori:Larry McMurtry (Autore)
Info:Orion mass market paperback (2000), 416 pages
Collezioni:Read, La tua biblioteca
Voto:****
Etichette:Nessuno

Informazioni sull'opera

Voglia di tenerezza di Larry McMurtry (1975)

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I’ve read almost every book that Larry McMurtry has penned. I prefer his Western period pieces, though his other work is certainly well written and deserving of a reader’s attention. Of course, I’ve seen the film version of Terms of Endearment many times, but only read it for the first time recently.

Certainly, the movie was very true to the book in most regards. The Jack Nicholson astronaut character is far more intriguing than the General in the book, but the story arc and main characters will be easily recognized. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more, had I read it before seeing the movie. As it is, I enjoyed the read, but was not blown away. ( )
  santhony | Mar 16, 2021 |
"Relations on this block are certainly getting soap-opera-ish." (pg. 249)

Trust Aurora Greenway, who speaks the line quoted above, to cut the slightly silly and superfluous Terms of Endearment to its core. Described in the author's somewhat defensive preface – never a good sign – as a 'social comedy' (pg. 6), the novel is oriented around the overbearing, outspoken Aurora and her relationship with her adult daughter Emma and a circle of rather pathetic male suitors. Aurora grates on the reader for the longest time, until the penny drops about halfway through the book that everyone else is just as wretched, self-centred, tawdry, obnoxious and arrogant as she is, and then you begin to enjoy her ruthless dismissals of them. She keeps Larry McMurtry's miscalculated whirligig spinning through sheer force of will.

McMurtry has proved, in much better books, that he can truly inhabit his characters – young, old, male, female, 19th-century or contemporary – which is why it's a shame that in Terms of Endearment none of them are likeable (with the exception of Rosie, though I hated that she so easily allows herself to become a doormat). They are all well-drawn, and McMurtry can't help but write well (for one thing, the book's too easy to read to ever become boring), but the reader is not in pleasant company here. The book is a parade of WASP wankery: the characters spend all their time belittling each other or cheating on each other, and, with no self-awareness, criticise others for doing the same to them. With the dominant Aurora, it's like a weekend with the most clichéd mother-in-law ("on the whole, men who stood in awe of her were even worse than men who didn't" (pg. 59); "it was her habit, on occasion, to toss out nets of accusation just to see what she could drag in" (pg. 61)). With her daughter Emma and the others ("it's not my place to say [what's wrong]… If you really care, then it's your place to find things out" (pg. 43)), it's like a dinner party with 'friends' you secretly hate.

Now, characters in books don't have to be likeable – in fact, it's a bit of a crutch that too many self-styled 'bookworms' rely on – and that's certainly the case when it comes to assessing a piece of genuine literature. But while Terms of Endearment makes a play at literature – its opening line imitates Jane Austen's famous opening line, and the book tries for an observant, high-society comic tone akin to 19th-century European literature – it doesn't achieve literary status. McMurtry even writes, in that revealing preface, that he had hoped Aurora "would plunge into a moral dilemma worthy of Anna Karenina or Dorothea Brooke, but no such dilemma arose" (pg. 6). The result is a piece of enjoyable fluff and melodrama, but no more than that. There's little nourishment for readers wanting to approach this on a literary level, and even the ending, which brings a tear, does so in a Hallmark-movie kind of way. Though imbalanced structurally, and populated with characters you can't wait to say goodbye to, it's never a bad read, only a miscalculation. McMurtry's talent is enough to elevate Terms of Endearment above the soap-opera crudity that Aurora identifies – but only just. ( )
1 vota MikeFutcher | Feb 8, 2021 |
https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3544361.html

The book has some major differences with the film - in fact, I can’t think of another case where a novel has been adapted for an Oscar-winning movie with such big differences, apart perhaps from Mrs Miniver (which is not really a novel). The first 360 pages of 410 are all about Aurora, with the plot of the film which covers over a decade, originally scheduled just over the hot summer on 1963. There is no astronaut; instead an older retired general, and the Danny De Vito character gets a lot more page space than he did on screen. Only on page 361 do we switch to Helen and her life in Iowa, and the Plot Twist comes on page 391 with less than 5% of the book to go (there is no New York scene, which I think an improvement - the one bit of the film that did not really work for me). I hugely enjoyed it. Aurora's character is monstrous, fascinating and funny on the page; I think it was wise to balance her character much more with Helen's for the screen adaptation, but it works well on the page. You can get it here. ( )
  nwhyte | Dec 27, 2020 |
I pretty much can't stand most of the characters in this book... and yet, every time I read it, I cry at the end. It's not like I don't know what's going to happen; I saw the movie when it was still in the theaters, years before I read this book the first time. And yet.

I know a lot of people who don't like McMurtry's contemporary novels as much as his Westerns. I love the Westerns, but I will always have a soft spot for the funny, awful people who populate the Texas of Larry McMurty's middle age. ( )
  VintageReader | Jul 9, 2017 |
Soapy comedy involving Mom and Daughter. Mom is controlling daughter and daughter is not to be controlled. The movie was very good but reading this novel was not to my liking. Hard to believe he can write great western novels, and goofy soap operas like this. ( )
  pgabj | Dec 7, 2016 |
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Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shall see,
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time....
- Shakespeare, Sonnet III
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For Cecilia DeGolyer McGhee,
Marcia McGhee Carter,
and Cecilia DeGloyer Carter
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"The success of the marriage invariably depends on the woman," Mrs. Greenway said.
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