cover image Some Can Whistle

Some Can Whistle

Larry McMurtry. Simon & Schuster, $19.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-64267-9

Picking up the life of Danny Deck, the memorable protagonist of All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers , McMurtry's latest novel is another dark comedy about the difficulty of maintaining intimate relationships. Unfortunately, it never soars as high as the author's best work; as Deck ironically reflects: ``Everything . . . I . . . said or thought seemed to be a parody of something that I had once . . . said or thought more vigorously or better.'' Deck, at 51, is fat, lonely and rich, the latter thanks to his number one-rated TV sitcom. He is an emotional and physical recluse living in west Texas, playing perennial host to gay retired classics professor, druggie and nudist Godwin Lloyd-Jon, and communicating with a network of former lovers via answering machine. After he is contacted by his 22-year-old daughter, T.R., who he last saw on the night of her birth, Deck begins his slow progress (impeded by frequent migraines) from solitude toward a ``reconnection'' with reality. T.R. is belligerent, uneducated, foulmouthed, defiantly lower class, and the mother of children fathered by two men with criminal records. Deck attempts to counter her deep, bitter anger with the love he had stifled for so many years. Full of events that defy credibility, and peopled with characters whose relentless eccentricities are not remotely appealing, the novel further suffers from rampant sentimentality. In all, not a major effort, but readable because of the cumulative power of McMurtry's narrative skills. BOMC featured selection. (Oct.)