Set in Thomas McGuane's accustomed Big Sky country, with its mesmeric powers, these stories attest to the generous compass of his fellow feeling as well as to his unique way with words and the comic genius that has inspired comparison with Twain and Gogol.
"He's grinnin' like a mule eating cactus...."
Sunny Jim Whitelaw, a descendent of pioneers and owner of a large bottling plant, may have died, but he has no intention of relinquishing control: his will specifies that no one gets a cent unless his daughter, Evelyn, reconciles with her estranged husband, Paul. But Evelyn is a strong-willed woman, fiercely attached to the land, whose horses transport her to a West she feels is disappearing, while Paul is a suave manipulator, without scruples, intent on living well.
The unforgettable voyager of this dark picaresque is I. B. "Berl" Pickett, M.D., whose die was probably cast the moment his mother thought to name him after Irving Berlin. Other insults piled on apace thereafter: the spasms of Pentecostal Sunday worship; the social debilitation of following his parents' itinerant rug-shampooing business; the erotic initiation at the hands of his aunt. It's hard to imagine what would have become of him had he not gone to medical school.
Thomas McGuane's high-spirited and fiercely lyrical new novel chronicles the fall and rise of Frank Copenhaver, a man so unhinged by his wife's departure that he finds himself ruining his business, falling in love with the wrong women, and wandering the lawns of his neighborhood, desperate for the merest glimpse of normalcy.
"Hot and Cold" by Elizabeth Kolbert; "Jimmy Carter Aloft" by Nick Paumgarten; "The Mind's Eye" by Calvin Tomkins; "Tango" by Thomas McGuane; and "What If" by David Denby.
"The Book on Barack", by Hendrik Hertzberg; "Famous Names", by John Colapinto; "House Perfect", by Lauren Collins; "The House on Sand Creek", by Thomas McGuane; and "Playing the Numbers", by David Denby.
"Storm Warnings" by Elizabeth Kolbert; "High Stakes" by Jane Mayer; "Leaving Desire" by Jon Lee Anderson; "Rites" by Jeffrey Toobin; "Cowboy" by Thomas McGuane; "Come Rain or Come Shine" by John Lahr; "Unhappy Families" by Anthony Lane.
"Deepest Cuts", by George Packer; "Gwyneth’s World", by Lizzie Widdicombe; "The Possibilian", by Burkhard Bilger; "Queen of the D-League", by Ben McGrath; and "The Good Samaritan", by Thomas McGuane.