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By Sorrow's River (The Berrybender Narratives #3)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,326 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In this tale of high-spirited and terrifying adventure, set against the background of the West that Larry McMurtry has made his own, By Sorrow's River is an epic in its own right, with an extraordinary young woman as its leading figure.
At the heart of this third volume of his Western saga remains the beautiful and determined Tasmin Berrybender, now married to the "Sin Ki
ebook, 368 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2003)
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Hock Tjoa
I love the lyricism of McMurtry's description of West Texas. Quite apart from his people and the development of their lives and character, he writes about the desert, the dust, the heat - all - with evident reverence and heart.
We pause in our heedless wanderings to think and ponder and wrestle with relationships. Well not a pause in the journeying, but during the journeyings, between actually getting anywhere and anything else happening, we get our interlude of romantic complications. Or anti-romantic complications. Poor Tasmin, falling out of love with her fierce, taciturn, wandering husband, and into love with a gentle, passive, guide without a lustful bone in his body. It's a typicially McMurtrian triangle, where d ...more
You must read this book. It is one of the best examples of the skillful writing of Larry McMurtry. This book will redefine your impressions of the modern western.
Mikey B.
Much like volume II I felt this should have been condensed. A merge of volumes II and III would have been far more effective. It is puzzling in that some interesting characters are introduced and just as summarily killed off as if the author didn’t know how to weave them into his story (view spoiler). We are basically left with the psychological vicissitudes of Tasmin and the story suffers from this singular fixation. Tasmin ...more
Morris Graham
I read this without having read the previous two books. Lord Berrybender, a nobleman from England, continues to lead his ill-fated hunting expedition across the untamed west. His son aparently was killed at the close of the last book by Pawnees. Lord B was simply unaffected at all by his son's death, probably largely due to the fact that he stays drunk whenver spirits are available. There are many scenes and chapters in this book that are indeed engaging, and the author's ability to describe the ...more
McMurtry places this story in Western Texas of British travelers enroute to Sante Fe. We meet Kit Carson and "Pomp" Charboneau as the guides to this group making their way across the Great Plains. It's a hard trek and makes one pause to consider how and why anyone would want to venture out on such a journey.
The journey continues on toward Santa Fe, in spite of many obstacles, the harshness of the territory being traveled, and the growing body count. The Berrybenders and their party find themselves in so many preposterously funny situations, I was always laughing aloud or reading with a smile. Torn between two loves, that of her husband Jim and her friend Pomp, Tasmin is still her own woman and the focus of this novel. She knows her own mind and takes orders from none. The West has not broken her, b ...more
The third book in McMurtry's saga of the Berrybender family in the American West. Lord Berrybender continues his efforts to hunt the West, taking his family, servants and various hangers-on through drought, Indian attacks and near starvation. They are led by his daughter Tasmine's husband the American scout & trapper, James Snow (nicknamed the Sin Killer by local tribes). McMurty takes the family through a number of trials, including deaths, births and various natural & man-made disaster ...more
The strength of this, the penultimate book in the Berrybender series, lies with its dialogue. Far less seems to happen in terms of story, perhaps because for much of the novel the clan stays at a trading post. Tasmin has an affair, younger sister Buffum marries an Indian, while fourteen-year-old Mary Berrybender discovers that her older botanist boyfriend prefers nude spankings to "fornication." Worst of all, Lord Berrybender is unable to obtain a drop of booze and must endure sobriety for much ...more
I enjoyed this perplexing and unique tragicomedy saga, which is the third of a four part series of the journey of an aristocratic British family traveling through the West in the early 1830's on a hunting party. At this critical time, the Indians have yet to be conquered, buffalo still roam, white settlements are sparse, and the Southwest has yet to be wrested from the Spanish. The attractions of this vast wilderness are contrasted with the many dangers and sources of death. The focus of the tal ...more
What do you do when you've listened to most of the book CDs at your local library? You take out something, anything, to listen to as you drive. That's what I did when I picked up this opus, the third in a series about an aristocratic Scottish family, the Berrybenders, and their adventures Out West in the 1830s. By the time I finished the 10th CD, I was ready to go on a berrybender myself. Sex, violence, violence, more sex, more violence, sex, more violence, etc. ad nauseum. Arggh! I quickly got ...more
I was so excited to find this in the bargain bin outside Brookline know those bargain racks? Where all the books are a buck or two and you always look through them and there are never, ever any good books? Well hope springs eternal and there was Berrybender book three, the very book I needed to continue my trend of one Berrybender saga per summer! How exciting.
It was really nice to return to the crazy Berrybenders and their servants and the local mountain men and Indians as they
Tasmin Berrybender, the daughter of Lord Berrybender, wife of Jim Snow aka Sin Killer, feisty, independent, sharp-tongued, and emotional, takes the forefront of this, the third of four Berrybender tales. As in many of McMurtry’s westerns and the previous two Berrybenders (Sin Killer and The Wandering Hill), the cast of characters is wildly and frequently amusingly creative. Joining Tasmin, her father, and Jim Snow are quirky folks across the spectrum, Indians (Greasy Lake, High Shoulders, The Pa ...more
The journey continues but feels a bit more 'plodding' this time 'round. I am way too invested in this story to stop now, but can't help think that the second and third book could have been scaled down to one. I'm still enjoying the series but the "romance" side of the story, which took up most of this book, just doesn't appeal to me as much as the action! There was an unexpected turn at the very end of this book which has motivated me highly to pick up the very last one in the series. But much l ...more
McMurtry brings characters to life. And the Berrybender group are no exception. But this story rolled aimlessly through southern Colorado with historical figures making funny appearances. This was a quick, easy read. But that's not what I expect of one of my favorite authors.
Tom Haynes
I always enjoy McMurtry characters, especially in his western, suedo-historic titles. Pomp, Father Jeff and the French crew, Tas and the Berrybender English clan, plus high shoulders and the other indians are just some of the crew irritating the Mexicans with their intrusion into New Mexico territory. This is the first in this series for me. Now I have to read "Sin Killer". The dialog and chatter is colorful and amusing. Good reading.
The third and final chapter of the Berrybinder series. I loved this series very much and was sad to see it end.
Tom Burke
Not a scintillating read but a well developed ending. Loved the line " he may have been a saint if he hadn't met me"
The best book of the Berrybender narratives thus far. A bit more tragic in another tough travel book.
You know, I had to quit on this. I really like the plots and characters, but McMurtry just spends too much time on sex. Seriously. I listened to only 3 discs out of 10, and there had already been numerous sex scenes, including an adulterous relationship. I'd love it if it were just the western stories of the trappers and all that, but I really just don't enjoy or need to entertain myself with ribald tales of random love affairs. It is unfortunate because the stories are pretty good!
Anne Duggan
The third of the four Berrybender narratives, this one is unrelenting in its grim depiction of exploring the West. There are no solutions, it seems, to the whites taking over the land, to the violence and to the loss of habitat to Native Americans. There's also a love/lust story happening, inbetween having babies. Ugh. Now I have to find and read the fourth one to see how it all ends.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Saunders
The crazy fun continues!
I can tolerate my friends ignominy and say I am hooked on this series.
Copulation and corpses abound in the third installment of the four-part Berrybender narratives. Luckily, both elements are nicely handled with a steady dose of black humor and sharp dialog. The end is terrific. The best book in the series so far.
Very disappointing. Didn't even finish. Characters were one-dimensional. Scenery vivid. Had the worst parts of the romance genre. Haven't read many westerns but now I wonder if westerns are just romances on the prairie.
Marty Nicholas
OK, hanging in with the BB Narratives, but just barely. From the Yellowstone to Santa Fe. My puzzlement with Pomp Charbonneau character has turned to shock! What was McMurtry thinking? Perhaps it's a clever plot trick?
Paul Parsons
Book III of the Berrybender family's trek across the plains in 1833. Life was cheap in the American west with threats of severe weather, smallpox, Indians, slavers and warring Mexicans. Many of our party succumb.
I just finished this book and I am once again left in awl at McMurtry's abilities. I already checked out the last installment of this series and instead of writing reviews I'm going back to reading.
Sue Boyd
I like McMurtry and his other writings. This was the third of his newest series of the old west. Sometimes very funny and then sometimes so very brutal. (2004)
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Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays.

Among many other accolades he was the co-winner of an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006.

Larry McMurty was born in Wichita Falls Texas in 1936. His first published book Horseman, Pass By was
More about Larry McMurtry...

Other Books in the Series

The Berrybender Narratives (4 books)
  • Sin Killer (The Berrybender Narratives #1)
  • The Wandering Hill (The Berrybender Narratives, #2)
  • Folly and Glory (The Berrybender Narratives, #4)
Lonesome Dove Terms of Endearment The Last Picture Show Streets of Laredo Comanche Moon

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