After the entry from the Campaign for the American Reader, I wondered about the phrase and, yes, searched Google, some of the results being:
"Tehano is a terrific novel, an epic tale of the Western frontier that is superior to Lonesome Dove: better written, more smoothly plotted, more historically accurate. It may well be the Great Texas Novel."—Dallas Morning News
Tehano by Allen Wier (Southern Methodist University Press, 736 pages, hardcover, $27.50, 0-87074-506-9): Tehano has been cited as rivaling War and Peace in scale and Lonesome Dove in gripping reality. With the Texas Comanche territory as his arena and Antebellum days through Reconstruction as his timeframe, Wier tracks the destiny of a motley army of Americans—from displaced Northerners to desperate Okies. This is indeed the Great Texas Novel.
AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMANFREDERICKSBURG, TX NEWSBy Amanda Maria Morrison" Just when you thought the great Texas novel has already been written and any more attempts would be just running over the same armadillo again and again, comes the Texicans, a tremendous historical novel set in the aftermath of the Texas' independence and its burgeoning statehood. ...The author's ability to reveal the human heartache that plagued so many settlers in their cabins and on their ranches drives the novel's convincing plotlines........Vida's work should be placed on the same shelf with Lonesome Dove, Texas, and Pale Horse, Pale Rider. "
Farther off from Heaven
In Bert Almon's "William Humphrey: Destoryer of Myths" regarding William Humphrey's "Farther," Almon invokes James Ward Lee's pamphlet on Humphrey as suggesting the volume is a great Texas novel.
A Sunday, October 30, 2005, opinion at the Dallas Morning News
"Will Clarke: Beyond the Texas Myth: When Larry McMurtry bashed the state's literati, he must've been having one bad day" explores greatness.
A DMN sidebar asked for email suggests under the question: "Your Point: If a novelist tried to write the Great Texas Novel this year, what would it be about?
Quiet Bubble (Southern writing) explores, in July 2005, in a broader context, Texas great(?) novelists
"Quick thinking: name four major Texas writers. By “Texas writer,” I guess I mean writers who grew up in Texas and/or writers who glean from the state for their themes, plots, geography, and moral frameworks.
After two days of back-and-forth emails with Ernesto and some web browsing, I came up with Katherine Anne Porter and Larry McMurtry. Donald Barthelme grew up in Houston, but he doesn’t count–when I think of him, I think of the hippest, strangest Greenwich Village insider you’d ever want to have a drink with, but Texas would never enter the conversation. I’ve heard the name Elmer Kelton batted around in a few newspapers, but I think he’s too obscure even for Bookforum.
So, two writers. That’s it. Why is that?"
Then Quiet Bubble goes further
wherein he invokes Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" and Poppy Brite's "Prime" among others.
Others' added "Comments" go further.