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Last Picture Show Books In Order

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Publication Order of Last Picture Show Books

The Last Picture Show (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Texasville (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Duane's Depressed (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
When the Light Goes (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rhino Ranch (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

A world-renowned American author Larry Jeff McMurty has been creating his unique brand of largely Texas or Western set fiction for many years now. With a number of novels and screenplays to his name he has created an essential and highly respectable body of work that’s been an inspiration to many in the field. Not only that, but his audiences have continued to grow in the years to come and should carry on building due to the classic and timely nature of his material. Set in small town Texas it tells the story of a group of teenagers there growing up as they contend with all the usual problems faced with adolescence and the threat of adulthood looming large. With an eye for detail, it focuses on the seemingly mundane in this small and sleepy town, as it revolves around a central group examining their lives and their loves. Whilst there may already be a cast number of coming of age stories, this acted as a precursor to many with its frank and realistic depictions of teenagers talking and dealing with issues such as sex and hormones.

Having been made into a 1971 film by the acclaimed director Peter Bogdanovich, this is a classic which most people will remember thanks to it being at the forefront of the seventies cinema movement. Starring Cybil Shepherd in the lead-role, it is noted for being a classic of its time, due to the riveting screenplay from Jeff McMurty himself, who managed to adapt his own work for the screen. With this level of enduring appeal, it’s easy to see why this is a series that has attracted so many readers over the years and this looks like a trend that’s set to continue from now on into the foreseeable future.

The Last Picture Show

Originally published 1966 this was the book that was to start it all, as it introduced the key central characters to the series as a whole, along with the setting itself. The cast of characters themselves are comprised largely of a collection of teenagers and the adults they come up against in this low-key coming of age story. With the location of small-town Texas too, it manages to create a somewhat stifling personality all of its own, thus creating much of the tension for the bored teenagers.

With the character of Duane, Jacy and Sonny, it introduces a collection of key characters who are going to become a lot more prominent as the series progresses. Set around their lives and their loves, it manages to follow them as they journey into adulthood, whilst simultaneously capturing a slice of life in sleepy small town Texas. The adults they come into contact with as well also manage to convey some of what they are feeling, as it is their being misunderstood and the generational gap that play an essential part in the proceedings here. With the town it’s almost a character in of itself in that it could be almost anywhere that’s small and claustrophobic, something that’s relatable on an international scale. The stifling nature of the location is what works against the characters of the film, as it accentuates the troubles felt when being a teenager struggling to define themselves. It seems that they’re locked into a constant conflict with the town, fighting to identify themselves to each other and the adults they happen to often clash with.

Dealing with the interactions between these teenagers, it manages to create a love triangle as they struggle to come to terms with their feelings for one another. Seeing love as somewhat of a mystery looking to be deciphered, they are ultimately confused by the predicament they find themselves in as they struggle to resolve their feelings. This uneasy tension grows between them all, bubbling under the surface, as they meander along not entirely sure of themselves and who they are yet. Will they be able to break away from it all? Can they resolve their own ambition in life? Can they make it to the last picture show?


Initially published as a follow up to the 1966 original, this novel picks up from where the last left off, as it continues the story of these Texas teenagers and what they did next. Further developing their characters it manages to create a new narrative, giving greater depth to who they are and what they want to be in life. It also manages to take the Texas town itself and provide further back-story to this small-town back-water where they are to live such a crucial moment of their lives in.

Having grown up and grown older, the teenagers are now adults as they all come back together once again after achieving what they felt they were looking for. Taking a look back at their youth they attempt to understand it all in what is a witty and touching portrait of growing older and finding out who you truly are. What became of Jacy when she went away to star in a number of Italien films? Will Duane ever be able to get himself out of debt, despite living a life of comfort? What has become of Sonny now that he owns a collection of highly successful businesses in Thalia, Texasville?

The Last Picture Show Series

Probably best known for its classic cinematic adaptation from Peter Bogdanovich, this ensures that it will be a series to remember. Being an early example of the seventies film revolution, this will always be an extremely influential piece of work for generations to come yet. Not only has it been important on the page, but on the big-screen as well, with many authors still citing its importance to this very day. With its intimate style and realistic situations of small town life, it really is a series to remember thanks to its rich drawn characters. As many readers are still able to relate to it, it shows its timeless quality that it manages to get to the heart of. This is something that doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon, as the legacy of The Last Picture Show series continues to live on.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Last Picture Show

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