December 15, 2002 |
The great novelists, Larry McMurtry believes, write their masterpieces in the prime of life. And at 66, he figures he's past his prime. The powers that inspired ''The Last Picture Show'' and ''Terms of Endearment'' are in decline. By his own reckoning, the curtain fell on his great period 17 years ago, with the publication of ''Lonesome Dove.'' McMurtry remains stunningly prolific; he churned out four novels during the past year, the last two at a gallop.