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Gallatin Canyon (Vintage Contemporaries)by Thomas Mcguane
"[E]normously satisfying....The tone is wry, strange, occasionally macabre, the prose clean and witty. McGuane is, of course, an enormously experienced writer, and it shows in confident, perfectly calibrated, almost slim stories in which not a word is out of place." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
Synopses & Reviews
A superb collection of stories — his first in twenty years — from one of our most acclaimed literary figures, whom the New York Times Book Review has called "a writer of the first magnitude."
Place exerts the power of destiny in these ten stories of lives uncannily recognizable and unforgettably strange: a boy makes a surprising discovery skating at night on Lake Michigan; an Irish clan in Massachusetts gather at the bedside of their dying matriarch; a battered survivor of the glory days of Key West washes up on other shores. Several of the stories unfold in Big Sky country, McGuane's signature landscape: a father tries to buy his adult son out of virginity; a convict turned cowhand finds refuge at a ranch in ruination; a couple makes a fateful drive through the perilous gorge of the title story before parting ways. McGuane's people are seekers, beguiled by the land's beauty and myth, compelled by the fantasy of what a locale can offer, forced to reconcile dream and truth.
The stories of Gallatin Canyon are alternately comical, dark, and poignant. Rich in the wit, compassion, and matchless language for which McGuane is celebrated, they are the work of a master.
"McGuane returns to the territories of his novels (Some Horses, etc.) in this collection of stories set in Montana, Michigan and Florida. Most of the characters are older, divorced and still looking for attachment but without much hope of love. They are alcoholics (in 'Vicious Circle' and 'The Refugee'), junkies ('Northcoast'), low-grade ex-cons ('The Cowboy'), embezzlers ('Old Friends'), disconnected fathers ('The Zombie' and 'Aliens') and lackluster ordinary men. In the title story, an unnamed smalltimer sets out on a business trip down the winding Gallatin Canyon, Mont., road with his girlfriend, Louise. He conducts his business dealings with phony bluster and indecision, humiliating himself in the eyes of this woman he hopes to marry; things get worse from there. Any attempts these characters make to draw happiness back into their lives backfires clumsily, pushing it further from their grasp. McGuane's sentences still have a playful quality, but the prevailing dreariness ('I wish I could feel something,' exclaims Louise) is something other than inspiring. (July 11)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"McGuane...is prized for his uncanny knack for uniting flinty humor...with classic landscape-inspired American lyricism, and he writes with particular intensity in these initially measured, then increasingly feverish, tales..." Booklist (Starred Review)
"McGuane fully lives up to the Hemingwayesque tag that is often attached to his name....Highly recommended." Library Journal
"[Q]uintessential McGuane." Kirkus Reviews
"About half the stories in the collection...are excellent and half are decidedly mediocre....
"What keeps these stories from becoming depressing and unbearably painful is the sublime indifference of life..." Los Angeles Times
"[T]here are wisdom, humor and a wry resignation in McGuane's collection that will touch a nerve in most of his readers." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Gallatin Canyon showcases McGuane's considerable talent for finding humor in awful situations." Miami Herald
"McGuane has been dubbed a 'writer's writer' and these stories show why: With perfect pitch and impressive technical skill, he presents a darkly comic vision of American men..." Providence Journal
About the Author
Thomas McGuane lives on a ranch in McLeod, Montana. He is the author of nine novels, three works of nonfiction, and one previous collection of stories.
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