It was 1966 when Thalia high schooler Duane Moore, along with his girlfriend, Jacy Farrow, made his first appearance, in The Last Picture Show . Now, 43 years later, Larry McMurtry presents Rhino Ranch , a fond adieu to his most enduring character. This presumably final book in the trilogy that grew into a quintet finds the retired owner of Moore Drilling Company cut loose and lonely in his “mean, miserable little oil patch town” after being abandoned by his second wife, Annie, for a French lover. He finds some distraction in the burg’s newest attraction—a 120,000-acre black rhino refuge and its patron, South Texas billionairess K. K. Slater—but he also finds himself saddened by how distanced he has grown from his parochial neighbors. More philosophical than in his younger days, he nevertheless cultivates a resigned affection for the cantankerous Thalians, as well as for his unfaithful wife and snooty Dallasite daughters. And that acceptance might be the great theme of this novel, that joy is transient, but so is sorrow. By forestalling the rush of anger, Duane will sleep well at night—and the sun will come up in the morning. A droll and poignant dramedy, Rhino Ranch is a near-perfect coda to the minor masterwork of Texas’s greatest novelist. Simon & Schuster, $25
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