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Thomas McGuane

Thomas McGuane is the author of fifteen works of fiction and seven books of nonfiction. He has also written several screenplays. His work is noted for its picaresque plots, eccentric and rural settings, and vivid characters. “McGuane is one of the rare contemporary American writers whose characters always do things,” says Mark Kamine of the Believer. “They run businesses, put up fences, farm, ranch, guide, fish. They are not people on vacations or grants, they are not professors, critics, writers, or artists.”

McGuane’s latest book and third short-story collection is Crow Fair, and he is also the author of the iconic Key West novels Panama and Ninety-Two in the Shade, which was nominated for the 1974 National Book Award. His many essays on fishing, horses, and other topics are the subject of three collections, including An Outside Chance. “McGuane writes about men,” Stephen Metcalf said in a New York Times review of his 2006 story collection, Gallatin Canyon, “and he often writes about men in the American West; and so he’s thought of as a writer of manly-man reticence in the school of Hemingway … but Gallatin Canyon does everything in its power to break down a silly American dichotomy, between a supposedly feminine preoccupation with manners and a supposedly masculine preoccupation with, well, everything else: sex, nature, aboriginal selfhood, you get the drill. 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.”

In an interview with the Paris Review, McGuane offers insight into his women characters. “I hope … that I’m coming closer to an authentic presentation of women in my recent books, a vision that maybe has something to do with me casting off some of my own ignorance about women,” he says. “I’d say that a big part of my education about women has come from having three daughters. I wonder what type of place I’m helping to prepare for them, what societal vices I’m perpetuating for them. These are the kind of moral issues I want to deal with in my writing.”

McGuane was born in Wyandotte, Michigan, in 1939, and has lived in Montana since 1968. He was educated at Michigan State University, Yale University, and Stanford University. In 2010, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Selected Bibliography

Crow Fair (2015)
Driving on the Rim (2010)
Gallatin Canyon (2002)
Upstream: Fly Fishing in the American Northwest (1999)
To Skin a Cat (1986)
Nobody’s Angel (1981)
Panama (1978)
Ninety-Two in the Shade (1973)
The Sporting Club (1969)

Online Resources

Thomas McGuane’s website
McGuane interviewed in the Paris Review
McGuane profiled in the Believer