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Custer Fixation?

In response to:

Passion Play from the March 18, 1999 issue

To the Editors:

I’m grateful for Tom Powers’s generous review of my recent short life of Crazy Horse [NYR, March 18]. Since Tom sees me as a little too Custer-fixated I thought it might amuse him to know that James Atlas, the series editor, initially offered me Custer, when the series was a-borning. But to write about Custer at length means to write in the shadow of a masterpiece, that being Evan S. Connell’s Son of the Morning Star. I demurred, and tilted toward Crazy Horse when I heard that the first book in the series was likely to be Edmund White’s Proust. How better to balance a new series of brief lives than by ordering up books about a French writer who said almost everything and a Sioux warrior who said next to nothing? Proust’s memories and Crazy Horse’s silence seemed to me to juxtapose rather well.

Larry McMurtry
Archer City, Texas

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