The Cadence of Grass
The Cadence of Grass
Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780679767459, 256pp.
Publication Date: May 13, 2003
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.
As played out on the majestic stage of Montana cattle country, the ensuing drama involves blood, money, sex, vengeance, and a cross-dressing rancher. The Cadence of Grass is renewed evidence that McGuane is one of the finest writers we have, capable of simultaneously burnishing and demolishing the mythology of the West while doing rope tricks with the English language.
“[D]arkly fiendish, wildly unsettling, and viciously good.” –Men’s Journal
“A hearty welcome home. . .a tale of betrayal, revenge and spousal loathing. . .[that] rollicks along on the legs of its comic characters.”–Outside
“Beautifully turned….a surprising, affecting mix of bitterness and delicacy.” –Entertainment Weekly
“McGuane’s sentences are like no one else’s, crisp and spare, yet somehow baroque, and he perpetually balances the picaresque against the sublime.”—The New Yorker
“McGuane has struck a perfect balance. . .between his large cast of beautifully drawn and memorable characters and the animals they raise and work and love.”—Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune
“A fine, quirky, funny, startling novel . . . with witty dialogue and hilarious moments and sudden violence and awful betrayals.”—Miami Herald
“McGuane is a terrific writer, a great chronicler of the vanishing West.”—The Orlando Sentinel
“There is a raw exuberance to this hard-edged novel. . . . McGuane proves that he is still an accomplished cowpuncher with words.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“McGuane’s unflagging invention is consistently engaging. . . . He is remarkably attuned to the psychological discomfort and indirect jousting underlying routine social interactions, and his language is rich, varied and effortless.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune
“When McGuane dissects his characters to their squirming core, The Cadence of Grass is downright hilarious.”—St. Petersburg Times
“The plot . . . unfolds with McGuane’s characteristic wit and delight in the absurd. . . . His voice gets truer every time.” —The Plain Dealer
“One of our most readable and accomplished writers. . . .Consistently entertaining.” –Rocky Mountain News
“A complex and dark novel in which detailed rendering of psychological landscapes creates a fascinating portrait of the suffering heart of an old and perhaps dying way of life.”—The Globe & Mail, Toronto
“There is an earthy and comedic magic about this expansive story within the expanse of the Western plains.”—Deseret News
“McGuane portrays an American West that is vivid and alive, writing crackling dialogue with an eye for the ridiculous.”—The Boston Phoenix