Literary Hub

Greg Iles: In Praise of Larry McMurtry (Postmodernists, Not So Much)

Gre Iles most recent book, Mississippi Blood, concludes his Natchez Burning trilogy.

What was the first book you fell in love with?
Arty the Smarty by Faith McNulty. I was three or four years old when I read that, and it shaped me as a writer. It’s about a smart fish who thinks up myriad ways to avoid being hooked and to make a fool of the fisherman while the other fish he knows get caught.

Name a classic you feel guilty about never having read?
I’ve hardly read any postmodernists. As my friend Scott Turow says, they cost literature its audience. So maybe I don’t feel guilty about ignoring them.

What’s the book you reread the most?
The Honorable Schoolboy by John Le Carré. I think it’s the most underrated of the George Smiley books. Though it’s a British novel, it captures something of the moment when American power, and America’s image of itself on the world stage, began to go into decline. The personal story in it is Le Carré channeling Graham Greene.

Is there a book you wish you had written?
I wish I had written Lonesome Dove. It’s a tour de force of narrative and dialogue and insight into human nature, and had I written that, I would be a far greater writer than I currently am!

Originally published in Literary Hub.

Related Interests

More from Literary Hub

Literary Hub8 min read
The Poetic Pleasures and Pains We Can Only Express in Dutch
i. My mother’s vowels were as clear as drinking water. She expected ours to sound the same. She was a teacher, and the child of two teachers; before them, there was a madwoman, a sea captain, a divorcée, a drunk. And then blacksmiths, generations of
Literary Hub10 min read
We’re Doomed. Now What? Roy Scranton on Climate Change
Is there a better introduction to writer and climate change philosopher Roy Scranton than to slowly read aloud the titles he’s published to date? First, his breakout eco-manifesto from 2015: Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End
Literary Hub6 min read
Meet the Bay Area Butterflies Fighting For Survival
When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in college, I was oblivious to the region’s status as a global epicenter for rare butterflies. The Mission Blue (Icaricia icarioides missionensis), the San Bruno Elfin (Callophrys mossii bayensis), and the C