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3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  173 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Long considered to be the brilliant dark horse of literary nonfiction, Pulitzer Prize-winning Larry McMurtry delivers a searing and reflective exploration of what paradise is, whether it exists, and how different it is from life in his Texas hometown.

In 1999, Larry McMurtry, whose wanderlust had been previously restricted to the roads of America, set off for a trip to the
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 6th 2002 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2001)
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Thomas Holbrook
Aug 01, 2016 Thomas Holbrook rated it really liked it
Mr. McMurtry loves to travel, apparently, doing so serves as an aide in helping him focus on his writing, his work and his life. As his mother was in the final stages of life, he decided to travel “on the old road, the first road, the original superhighway: the sea.” (p. 55) to reflect upon his parents’ relationship. Finding a measure of distance from an event or a problem is often helpful in getting clarity or finding a solution to the subject at hand. I hope he was able to find such on this t ...more
Nov 03, 2012 Greta rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 01, 2008 Brandon rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 23, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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.
Jim Dooley
Nov 14, 2014 Jim Dooley rated it really liked it
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
Feb 10, 2016 Marsha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book left me cold emotionally. As the previous owner stated, Mr. McMurtry uses his sojourn among the Tahitian islands to explore his father and mother's relationship with each other.

However, Texas and Tahiti are worlds apart socially, culturally and emotionally. When reminiscences of his parents make appearances in his cataloging of his trip, they are as awkward and clumsy as the tourists making their way from one island to another.

However, his trip through the islands and his musings on F
George Smith
Jan 04, 2015 George Smith rated it did not like it
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
May 29, 2010 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan Curell
Jul 01, 2012 Ryan Curell rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2015 Ann rated it liked it
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.
Paul Parsons
Jan 04, 2013 Paul Parsons rated it liked it
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.
Jul 29, 2011 Phil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing
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"
Jun 05, 2011 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i read thinking it was about polynesia - it was a little bit but mostly about his parents unhappy marriage and his upbringing
He brings up some ideas worth thinking about: What really is Paradise? Does it mean different things to different people? Are we exploiting the last places on earth that qualify as "paradise"?
Sep 13, 2010 Marilyn rated it really liked it
beautifully written little book about the author's journey to Tahiti and the South Sea islands and what constitutes Paradise.
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.
Oct 27, 2013 Perry rated it really liked it
Memoir of a visit to the South Sea islands that examines paradise (and how it can be boring) and loss.
Feb 24, 2009 Sherry rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 03, 2011 Hulananni rated it really liked it
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!
Jun 07, 2010 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, texana
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.
Jun 11, 2012 Gail rated it really liked it
Very autobiographical for those who follow his writing
Oct 08, 2007 Jim rated it it was ok
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.
Terry Levenberg
Jan 18, 2017 Terry Levenberg rated it really liked it
Short, easy to read travelogue of the Happy Isles of Oceania without the complaints or whinging of Theroux. And along the way some real insight into relationship and marriage
Apr 22, 2014 Laurie rated it really liked it
I have to look at this again. very revealing about part of mcmurtys life. just watched tje last picture show again.
Mar 02, 2008 Patrick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: larry-mcmurtry
A travelogue of McMurtry;s brief visit to the South Sea islands, along with a meditation on his parentss marriage.
Melissa Burney
Melissa Burney rated it it was amazing
Mar 21, 2010
Smaria88 rated it it was ok
Jul 09, 2009
Alyx rated it it was ok
Jul 12, 2014
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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
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