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3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In 1999, Larry McMurtry, whose wanderlust had been previously restricted to the roads of America, set off for a trip to the paradise of Tahiti and the South Sea Islands in an old-fashioned tub of a cruise boat, at a time when his mother was slipping toward a paradise of her own. Opening up to her son in her final days, his mother makes a stunning revelation of a previous m ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 6th 2002 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2001)
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Jim Dooley
I'm not sure that Larry McMurtry is capable of writing poorly. I imagine that he could make the tax instructions interesting.

This is so much in evidence with PARADISE, a book that might have been a hopeless jumble in other hands. It is a book about relationships. It is a book about history. It is a book about self-discovery and trying to figure out how to connect the pieces together in a troublesome puzzle. It is a book about travel, and people who are so enmeshed in their own need for convenien
Enjoyed McMurtry's travel memoir to the South Pacific and specifically to former homes and artistic inspirational places of Gaugin. How I would love to visit the South Pacific travel destination of McMurtry and many other interesting authors over the centuries. If we had not seen the Seattle Art Museum's gorgeous exhibition on Gaugin, then I might not have hung on every word of description. Art coming together with other art is a treasure.
I'm not sure if my three star rating here is accurate, this book got under my skin in many ways. It is a travel book and a meditation on the author's parent's marriage. Possibly the travel destination, being in French Polynesia and my recent travel there had something to do with it getting under my skin. I did find it very informative and emotionally resonant. I'm going to change it to 4 stars in light of that.
a bit meandering, this is a contemplative book about life, the meaning of paradise on earth, the island of the south pacific. told very much from the perspective of white, western culture, the book still does take a nice look at tourism, too, and it's mixed blessing for native peoples. the writing itself is so beautiful though, i would recommend this book for that alone.
George Smith
You get a lot more information about his fellow passengers than about the Islands and their people. Of course anyone going to French Polynesia today has to have money - there are a lot cheaper and equally beautiful islands in the South Pacific to explore for the more frugal traveler. But if you are locked into a boat tour, you are only going to have time for a quick impression, no matter where you float. Mc Murtry family history back in Texas was just irrelevant. This writer is just another self ...more
I'm a fan of Larry McMurtry's fiction, but Paradise is a personal story. It is an island travelogue as well as a reflection of his parents' marriage as his mother is slipping away from life. I didn't learn much about Hazel and Jeff McMurtry, other than the fact that they weren't travelers and were very much products of their time. McMurtry made some insightful observations about travel and how many tourists want to experience new cultures without giving up any of the amenities they are used to. ...more
The last page-and-a-half or so of this slim memoir is probably the most emotionally brutal written punch-to-the-gut I can recall coming across recently. Whether it's worth reading the 150 pages that lead up to that one to get there is a question that, as always, depends on the reader's own preferences.
I have to look at this again. very revealing about part of mcmurtys life. just watched tje last picture show again.
Ryan Curell
A collection of McMurtry's thoughts while he cruises the South Seas: Ruminations about his parents, their separation from each other, restlessness (his own and that of others) with the so-called perfection in paradise, physical and emotional distance, Western expanse, mob xenophobia, the weighing of the marginality of his life against the vast Pacific. The book's depths are far deeper and penetrating than the slimness of its volume suggests; his fans (especially those who've digested much of his ...more
McMurtry goes on a cruise (on a working freight ship) from Tahiti to the Marquesas, at a time when his mother is near death, ostensibly to contemplate the strange marriage of his parents, who divorced after 45 years. He discusses them in the book, but not a lot. Instead he focuses on the events of the cruise, with slight portraits of the other passengers, and the islands he sees. Lots of references and discussions, of course, of Gauguin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Melville, etc. I liked this book q ...more
Paul Parsons
A travel memoir written by Larry McMurtry commemorating his trip to Tahiti. Taken shortly after his open heart experience and during the prolonged death of his mother, this book is not meant to be a light hearted bemusement of tropical islands half a world away. Instead, it gives the reader a peak into this aging author's head and is valuable as a result. Not a long read at 160 small pages.
Very quick read about the authors cruise from Tahiti to the Marquesa islands, and what he observes: the other travelers, the natives and their lives, and himself and his insights into his reasons for being there. Not a novel, not a murder, not a mystery - just a thoroughly enjoyable book.
Jul 07, 2013 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: travel
"I chose to travel on the Aranui to the islands it visits because I wanted to spend a little time in a culture that is neither American, European nor Asian: the culture of sea places - Oceania. What I hope is to escape for a bit from the culture of overachievement"
More crabby, wistful travel writing from McMurtry.

He refuses to do anything physically demanding, but he is so well-read, and often funny that I like taking these little trips with him.
I've always wanted to take the Aranui trip to the Marquesas so I'm enjoying this book.

Now that I've finished the book I still want to take the Aranui voyage. Have to start planning!
Oct 08, 2007 Jim rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
Basically a travalogue of his trip to French Polynesia and reflections on his parents. Mostly an excuse to get paid for a vacation; nice job if you can get it. But it was a nice read.
Cooper Renner
A interesting sort of travel book in which McM turns his incisive observations on both a trip to Tahiti and the Marquesas and his parents' distressed marriage.
this was my first Larry McMurty read.... Sham on me, and he is a Texas boy. What was I thinking. I can't wait to read another one.
beautifully written little book about the author's journey to Tahiti and the South Sea islands and what constitutes Paradise.
i read thinking it was about polynesia - it was a little bit but mostly about his parents unhappy marriage and his upbringing
A travelogue of McMurtry;s brief visit to the South Sea islands, along with a meditation on his parentss marriage.
Memoir of a visit to the South Sea islands that examines paradise (and how it can be boring) and loss.
Very autobiographical for those who follow his writing
Slight, ruminative, seductive. A McMurtry gem.
Jun 11, 2013 Brittanie marked it as to-read
Recommended by Heelgrinder
I wanna go!
Holly Flora
Holly Flora marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2015
Mahreen Khan
Mahreen Khan marked it as to-read
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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...
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