BECAUSE I LIVE IN MONTANA and because I have always heard Montanans talk about Thomas McGuane, I set myself the task of reading all of his work: 10 novels, several books of essays, and three collections of short stories, including his new one, Crow Fair (Knopf). I now understand why the majority of Montanans claim him. McGuane’s body of literature is like a well-wrought symphony, with all the important parts of a tragicomic concerto, with an overture, crescendos, and requiems. And, taken together, it is almost magical to read the linguistic shifts in style from the psychedelic gonzo style of the ’70s to the meditative and spare tone of his more recent work. And throughout the chaos of his plots, and the chaos of his characters’ inner worlds, McGuane never, ever, loses his comic touch.
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