This western epic will make you stop pining for McMurty's heretofore unrivaled Lonesome Dove.
Philipp Meyer makes outstanding use of a multi-voice narrative to give this big, chewy story its heart, and the three voices he used (Eli McCullough, his son Peter, and his granddaughter Jeanne Ann) enable the reader to travel back and forth across a wide swath of Texas history without getting bogged down. From the Comanche raid that resulted in the kidnapping of Eli when he was 13 years old to Jeanne Anne's astute running of the considerable family oil holdings, I was utterly swept up, time and time again. For Pete's sake, I even sat on a stool in the kitchen one night, stirring pasta sauce with one hand while holding this book in the other just so I could finish a particularly heart-thumping chapter.
Some folks may find some of the graphic descriptions of violence, including scalpings and the slaughter of buffalo for sustenance, off-putting, and it might be that the episodes of rather earthy sex in a time before we went and got all prissy could offend, but I figure a writer who wishes to present a place and time authentically has license to abandon modern sensibilities.
Bottom line: Fans of Lonesome Dove, Giant, and/or The Road have new reason to be excited about the current state of the western novel.