McMurtry’s All My Friends By Roxy Gordon All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, Larry McMurtry, Simon and Schuster 286 pages, $7.50. Albuquerque Danny Deck is a young writer who lives in Houston and Larry McMurtry’s latest novel is all about him. Danny is a college student an undergraduate so we can judge his age at something less than 22 or 23. Apparently he hasn’t done very much up to now. He’s written a novel at his favorite typing table in the apartment where he’s lived for some years. His friends are Rice students. We don’t know much about his past. It’s probably Texas rural, but Danny’s not particularly rural. Danny’s not, particularly anything. Except young. Some fast changes are about to break on Danny Deck, though. When the book opens, he’s driven to Austin to eat Mexican food and waste time. He wakes up one morning at some Englishman’s house, steals the Englishman’s girlfriend, takes her back to Houston and marries her. A few days later he gets word his book has sold and will probably sell to the movies. Leonard Cohen has a song that begins, “I stepped into an avalanche . .” That’s about what happens to Danny Deck. In the next 280 pages, a lot of stuff shit and otherwise comes down on him. I know something about stepping into avalanches. For the past several years I’ve mostly felt like I was in the middle of one. The title of the book is All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers and I feel that way a lot, too. Danny Deck very well. I don’t know why he marries the Englishman’s girlfriend. She’s sulky not too smart and cruel. She’s good in bed though which probably explains it. Her name is Sally. I don’t like Danny’s friends in Houston except for the rich lady across the street 14 The Texas Observer who wants Danny to perform some stuff on her she’s never had performed on her. Flap and Emma are around. I wasn’t happy to run into Flap and Emma again. I didn’t like them or hardly anybody else in Moving On. Flap is still a college student and Emma’s still chubby. They’re both as boring as they were. The rich lady is considerably less boring, but Danny won’t do anything she wants done. DANNY’S initial reaction to the sale of his book is to punch a Rice professor in the stomach and head for San Francisco. Which isn’t too bad an initial reaction. In San Francisco, Sally is pregnant as she badly wanted to be and Danny meets a lot of writers in the basement of City Lights Bookstore. But he doesn’t get into any of the North Beach scene. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t do much of anything. He may as well have stayed in Houston. Sally, on the other hand, is getting into all sorts of stuff. Danny realizes what the rest of us have known all along that she’s impossible to live with. The kid is coming. Her kid, she insists. And that’s all she wanted out of Danny anyway. First she screws a blind musician. Then she takes up with a motocyclist. Danny moves out to a cheap hotel on Geary. He drinks a lot of Dr Pepper, eats trash and goes to the three feature movies on Market. His editor shows up and takes him to a fancy literary party attended by a whole different breed of writers than the ones he met in City Lights, he notes. The party belongs to a beautiful lady writer. Danny spends the night with her and gets kicked out in the morning. But he doesn’t seem particularly bitter. His editor takes him down to Hollywood where he’s grotesquely wined and dined by his prospective producer. They eat in a Viking restaurant where the walls are ice. They have to wear fur coats and they eat raw fish. The producer totally rewrites Danny’s book for the movie. But Danny doesn’t particularly seem to care. He wonders why he didn’t write it that way to start with. Also in Hollywood, Danny meets Jill, a beautiful and famous artist who goes back to San Francisco with him. Jill is a lot sweeter than Sally. She’s cuddly. She gives Danny the idea for a new book. He decides to write a book about a baby bed that gets shifted around the country as wives. get shifted and kids get born. Danny installs Jill in a fine new place and keeps his Geary Street room for working. Everything is okay except Jill doesn’t like to screw. She doesn’t like to screw and she likes to wear a lot of clothes around the house. She’s modest. When Danny figures out that she doesn’t like sex, he thoughtfully quits and she feels better. But after a while she splits back to Hollywood and then calls Danny up to blame him for letting her go. By now, you will have noticed, Danny Deck has a talent for picking his women. Sally goes back to Texas to have her kid and Danny follows behind, his new novel in hand. BACK IN Texas, Danny stops off in Van Horn to ask about an old uncle. The gas station guy gives him a hard time about his long hair till Danny puts the guy in his place, and then we get a weird, silly sequence about the uncle. The uncle lives a good distance south of Van Horn in a big,
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