Folly and Glory: A Novel

Version: Unabridged
Author: Larry McMurtry
Narrator: Alfred Molina
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published In: May 2004
# of Units: 7 CDs
Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes
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In this brilliant saga—the final volume of The Berrybender Narratives and an epic in its own right—Larry McMurtry lives up to his reputation for delivering novels with “wit, grace, and more than a hint of what might be called muscular nostalgia, fit together to create a panoramic portrait of the American West” (The New York Times Book Review).

As this finale opens, Tasmin and her family are under irksome, though comfortable, arrest in Mexican Santa Fe. Her father, the eccentric Lord Berrybender, is planning to head for Texas with his whole family and his retainers, English, American, and Native American. Tasmin, who would once have followed her husband, Jim Snow, anywhere, is no longer even sure she likes him, or knows where to go to next. Neither does anyone else—even Captain Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, is puzzled by the great changes sweeping over the West, replacing red men and buffalo with towns and farms.

In the meantime, Jim Snow, accompanied by Kit Carson, journeys to New Orleans, where he meets up with a muscular black giant named Juppy, who turns out to be one of Lord Berrybender’s many illegitimate offspring, and in whose company they make their way back to Santa Fe. But even they are unable to prevent the Mexicans from carrying the Berrybender family on a long and terrible journey across the desert to Vera Cruz.

Starving, dying of thirst, and in constant, bloody battle with slavers pursuing them, the Berrybenders finally make their way to civilization—if New Orleans of the time can be called that—where Jim Snow has to choose between Tasmin and the great American plains, on which he has lived all his life in freedom, and where, after all her adventures, Tasmin must finally decide where her future lies.

With a cast of characters that includes almost every major real-life figure of the West, Folly and Glory is a novel that represents the culmination of a great and unique four-volume saga of the early days of the West; it is one of Larry McMurtry’s finest achievements.

Reviews (3)


Written by James O. on August 1st, 2019

  • Book Rating: 5/5

One of the most idealistic of what America was and still is possible

Folly and Glory: A Novel

Written by Julie Badger on September 27th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I differ with the previous pan of the series as a whole. While this last leg of the Berrybender series is somewhat lackluster, I very much enjoyed the previous books and would recommend them. No, they're not Lonesome Dove, but heck, what is? The Berrybenders are tons of fun if you enjoy dysfunctional families, mouthy women, and the English gift of understateemnt. They make my family seem normal and I'm sticking with them!

Folly and Glory

Written by Gem Spector on February 1st, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This is the first of McMurtry's series starring the tedious, cloying,silly Berrybender family. I read the last one first; so I can save you the trouble. McMurtry bombs with this series. Save yourself the time, trouble, and energy; read Lonesome Dove again instead.

Author Details

Author Details

McMurtry, Larry

"Novelist, essayist, and screenwriter Larry McMurtry was born June 3, 1936 in Wichita Falls, Texas. He grew up on a ranch just outside of Archer City, graduating from Archer City High School in 1954. He attended North Texas State University (B.A. 1958), then Rice University (1954, 1958-60, M.A. 1960), and studied for one semester outside of Texas, at Stanford University, as a Stegner Fellow, (1960-61). McMurtry published his first novels while working as an English instructor at Texas Christian University (1961-62), Rice University (1963-65), George Mason College (1970), and American University, (1970-71). In 1962, he won the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse M. Jones award, and in 1964, he won a Guggenheim grant. In 1970, he bought a rare-book store in Washington D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood, named it Booked Up, and relocated to run the store. A second Booked Up was opened in Archer City, Texas, in 1988.

His first seven novels were all set in Texas, some in the country, some in urban settings. The first three were made into movies. Despite the critical and popular success of ""Hud"" (Horseman Pass By) and The Last Picture Show, for which McMurtry wrote the Academy award winning screenplay (1972), McMurtry perceived a lack of appropriate recognition for his work in general. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he wore a t-shirt that read ""Minor Regional Novelist"", to help make this point.

McMurtry's urban trilogy, set in contemporary Houston, Moving On (1970), All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers (1972), and Terms of Endearment (1975), all deal with love and marriage, and are examples of McMurtry's ability to consistently create a strong sense of place, characters, and dialogue. Terms of Endearment would later be translated into Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish, and made into a very popular movie by the same name (1983), starring Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine, John Hurt, and Debra Winger.

Following this trilogy, McMurtry looked outside of Texas for settings: Somebody's Darling (1978) set in Hollywood, CA; Cadillac Jack (1982) set in DC, and The Desert Rose (1983) set in Las Vegas. These novels involve characters seeking meaning in urban life, and were not as critically or commercially successful as McMurtry's novels set in Texas.

In 1985, McMurtry published Lonesome Dove, the story of two ex-Texas Rangers who take on a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. This novel won McMurtry a Pulitzer Prize, as well as widespread critical and commercial success. The novel was brought to the small screen in 1989, in a very popular television mini-series of the same name, making McMurtry even more of a household name.

Since writing Lonesome Dove, McMurtry has continued to write novels set in both contemporary and historical Texas, with characters grappling with old and new lifestyles and values. These novels have been commercially successful, although not to same degree as Lonesome Dove. McMurtry announced that he will retire from novel writing with the 1999 novel, Duane's Depressed, however he has remained active as a writer, publishing a biography on Crazy Horse and an autobiographical reminiscence, Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, in the same year.

Author biography courtesy of Southwest Texas State University's Albert B. Alkek Library. "