Knopf, Hardcover, 9781400041565, 240pp.
Publication Date: July 4, 2006
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.
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.
“Astonishing . . . McGuane has become our poet-philosopher of the arm’s length . . . A writer [who] knows something about writing, real writing . . . words as access to the soul . . . McGuane has driven so hard into the heart of a received wisdom concerning American manhood, otherwise known as American loneliness, that he has broken through to the other side.”
–Stephen Metcalf, New York Times Book Review
“Dazzling . . . Classic McGuane, packed with emotionally wayward characters following dark, twisted paths where chance occurrences, strange coincidences and surprising bursts of humor wait in dark corners with clenched fists.”
–Steven Rinella, Outside
“Some moments in these tales are simply breathtaking.”
–Jacqueline Blais, USA Today
“One of our country’s finest prosemakers . . . You hear the name Thomas McGuane and you think of Montana’s big sky, beneath which cavort and limp and love and lament that peculiar breed of folks we call Westerners, who, by the time we finish reading about them, we think of as our cousins, wherever any of us may live.”
–Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle
“McGuane is a master . . . You can’t force this kind of writing.”
–Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
“There are good writers and there are very good writers and then there are a few very very good writers. Thomas McGuane is a very very good writer . . . Buy this book.”
–John Greenya, Washington Times
“One of the best story collections in a surprisingly robust field . . . McGuane is very much a serious writer and with these stories one to be taken seriously.”
–Robert Birnbaum, Denver Post
“With hints of Robert Stone and Joseph Conrad, McGuane crafts a moving account [that will] touch a nerve.”
–Bob Hoover, Pittsburg Post-Gazette
–Pete Warzel, Rocky Mountain News
“Leaves the reader surprised and satisfied . . . McGuane navigates the human condition with skill and elegance.”
–Ginny Merdes, The Seattle Times
“Gallatin Canyon should start a storm of revival of the power of the short story. Tom McGuane is the most graceful, deepest-witted writer of his generation. These stories are gold in every sentence.”
–Barry Hannah, author of Airships