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.
The result is a ruefully funny novel of embattled manhood, set in the country that McGuane has made his own: a Montana where cowboys slug it out with speculators, a cattleman's best friend may be his insurance broker, and love and fishing are the only consolations that last.
Though few would deny McGuane's wonderful ear and eye, his books, including The Bushwhacked Piano and Ninety-two in the Shade, with their macho western fantasy style, strike many as acquired tastes. Blue Skies , however, is significantly more accessible than McGuane's previous work . Frank Copenhaver, a congenial and vastly sympathetic hero, is a successful Montana real estate speculator who has hit all the right notes until the day his wife Gracie unexpectedly leaves him. Frank's subsequent attempts to sustain his emotional life and preserve his properties fail ever more ludicrously. His adored daughter seems to be falling for a homegrown fascist, Gracie is ever elusive, and his would-be affairs--with an accommodating travel agent, the dashing owner of the local Buick franchise and a bank teller with a yen to feed dogs--come messily apart. McGuane has created some uproarious set pieces--Frank's girlfriends joining together for a night raid, a mid-morning barroom brawl, a slapstick episode at a pig show--but he never loses sight of a piercing sadness below the high jinks. His ability to evoke the euphoria of the Great Outdoors is extraordinary; several fishing scenes offer classic epiphanies. And no praise is too high for the fluid, loose-limbed yet precise writing; this is American vernacular fiction at its peak. First serial to Esquire; author tour.
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Nothing But Blue Skies
I don’t really know why I liked this book but I did. I wouldn’t know how to recommend this book and I probably wouldn’t unless I knew how to do that. I like Thomas McGuanes’ writing for some reason.