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Was It Archer City?

In response to:

The Bard of Wichita Falls from the August 13, 1987 issue

To the Editors:

In the piece on Larry McMurtry [NYR, August 13], the writer makes it sound as if McMurtry is from Wichita Falls, when everybody knows he is from Archer City, which is the model for the “Thalia” in his early novels. Also, his books have been made into three successful movies, not two—you left out “Hud.”

Nicholas Lemann

Pelham, New York

Robert Adams replies:

Seven cities competed for the honor of being Homer’s birthplace; I am sorry if, misled by a blurb writer for the Penguin edition of The Last Picture Show, I slighted the superior claim of Archer City. It is more surprising to find the small towns of Texas competing to be recognized as the original of that repugnant little burg, McMurtry’s “Thalia.” But if Archer City is it, what is that little crossroads town doing on Route 70 just southwest of Vernon, monopolizing the name of “Thalia”?

Hud was indeed the movie name of Horseman Pass By—it got overlooked in the crush of Mr. McMurtry’s other accomplishments.

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