Thomas McGuane

Thomas Francis McGuane III (born December 11, 1939) is an American writer. His work includes ten novels, short fiction and screenplays, as well as three collections of essays devoted to his life in the outdoors. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Cutting Horse Association Members Hall of Fame and the Flyfishing Hall of Fame.

Thomas McGuane was the keynote speaker for the 2016 Montana State University Trout and Salomonid Lecture Series.[1] McGuane also partook in an oral history project conducted by Montana State University pertaining to his life as an angler and angling author.[2]

McGuane has three children, Annie, Maggie and Thomas.

Thomas McGuane
McGuane in 2018
McGuane in 2018
BornThomas Francis McGuane III
December 11, 1939 (age 79)
Wyandotte, Michigan
OccupationWriter, novelist, film director, screenwriter
GenreFiction, nonfiction, screenwriting
Portia Rebecca Crockett
(m. 1962; div. 1975)

Margot Kidder
(m. 1975; div. 1977)

Laura Buffett (m. 1977)

Early life

McGuane was born in Wyandotte, Michigan, the son of upwardly mobile Irish Catholic parents who moved to the Midwest from Massachusetts. His primary education included boarding school at Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, from which he graduated in 1958, but also included work on a ranch in Wyoming, ubiquitous fishing and hunting, and a difficult relationship with his alcoholic father that would later shadow much of his fiction. McGuane prefers to consider his roots matrilineal, on which side he is descended from a rich storytelling clan.[3]

He envisioned himself as a writer from a very young age, admiring what he perceived as the adventurous life of a writer as much as the prospect of writing. When he was ten years old, he got into a physical altercation with a friend over differing descriptions of a sunset. He began a serious devotion to writing by the age of 16.[3]

Writing career

After briefly attending the University of Michigan and Olivet College, McGuane thrived academically at Michigan State University, where he received a B.A. in English in 1962 and met his lifelong friend Jim Harrison. At the Yale School of Drama (M.F.A., 1965), he studied playwriting and dramatic literature. A Wallace Stegner Fellowship to Stanford University (1966–67) provided him the time and resources to finish his first published novel, The Sporting Club, published with Harrison's help in 1969. The Sporting Club is an anarchic portrayal of aristocratic decline and eventual ruin at an elite Michigan outdoor club.[3] McGuane wrote the novel in a frenetic six weeks after his initial hopes for a published novel in The Dial were dashed by its editor at the time, E. L. Doctorow.

Upon completing his Stegner Fellowship, McGuane and his wife, Rebecca Portia Crockett (a direct descendant of Davy Crockett), began to divide their time between Livingston, Montana, and Key West, Florida. When the screen rights to The Sporting Club were purchased, he invested the funds in ranch property in Montana's Paradise Valley. His second novel, The Bushwhacked Piano, a picaresque comedy chronicling the romantic, sporting, and entrepreneurial hijinks of Nicholas Payne, traipsing from Michigan to Montana to Florida and sprinkled with wry commentary on the current state of America, appeared in 1971 to rave reviews. Jonathan Yardley in the New York Times called the 31-year-old McGuane “a talent of Faulknerian potential,” while Saul Bellow described McGuane as “a language star.” The novel won the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.[3]

McGuane's third novel, Ninety-Two in the Shade (1973), was received as continued confirmation of his potential and is perhaps his best known, or at least his most widely acclaimed in literary circles. Shoving off with the ominous invocation, “Nobody knows, from sea to shining sea, why we are having all this trouble with our republic,” the novel uses young Thomas Skelton's desire to be a Key West fishing guide as a foil for expressions of word-drunk cultural, familial, and macho angst, culminating in Skelton's death at the business end of rival guide Nichol Dance's pistol.

Ninety-Two in the Shade was nominated for a National Book Award, and represents the close of the first chapter in McGuane's public literary life, a closing that may have also coincided with the crash of his Porsche on an icy Texas highway. The crash left him without serious injury but speechless for several days, and he resolved to shed his monastic obsession with writing novels and to assume a new lease on life, a resolution substantially assisted by Hollywood's offering of lucrative screenwriting opportunities.

Thus began the interlude in McGuane's career when he became known as “Captain Berserko” and wrote screenplays for Rancho Deluxe (1973),[4] shot in Livingston; The Missouri Breaks (1976), directed by Arthur Penn and starring Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando; and McGuane's own foray into directing with a film adaptation of 92 in the Shade (1975), starring Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Margot Kidder and Harry Dean Stanton.[4]

The excesses of those years are reflected – though hardly in full – by McGuane's tumultuous affair with actress Elizabeth Ashley (captured in voyeuristic detail in her memoir, Actress), his divorce from his first wife Becky Crockett (who went on to marry Fonda), his marriage to Kidder, the birth of their daughter, Maggie (herself an author), and his second divorce, all in less than a year.

McGuane published his most autobiographical novel, Panama, in 1978. His first and, until Driving on the Rim (2010), only novel written in the first person, it is the story of a flash-in-the-pan rock star named Chet Pomeroy who suffers delusion after delusion and can only imagine salvation in the character of Catherine, a literary embodiment of McGuane's third wife, Laurie Buffett, sister of Jimmy Buffett, one of McGuane's Key West comrades. With the exception of positive reviews in The New Yorker and The Village Voice, the novel was mercilessly panned by critics as self-absorbed and a testament to wasted literary talent – notwithstanding McGuane's protests that he considered it his best novel and that he was intentionally creating a lugubrious character who was not entitled, in the common view, to his feelings of loss and depression.

An ongoing struggle has ensued between McGuane and his reviewers concerning their expectations for his fiction, and their sense of how much McGuane's celebrity was intruding upon his work. The upheaval of the period concluded with the deaths of McGuane's father, mother, and sister in the span of 30 months, and by McGuane's admission that he felt no desire to write a comic novel like any of his first three works.

McGuane has received and been nominated for many awards. He won the 2016 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from the Los Angeles Times,[5] was a finalist[6] for the National Magazine Award in 2013 for his story "River Camp," and was a finalist for the Frank O'Connor Award in 2015.[7]

In 2018, he appeared in conversation with Richard Powers at the New York Public Library.[8]

The Dublin Review has published an article about McGuane's work.[9]

Life after Panama

After Panama, McGuane's novels changed considerably. Beginning with Nobody’s Angel in 1981, the setting has consistently been Montana (reflecting his own exodus from Key West), usually the fictitious town of “Deadrock” (presumably a play on “Livingston”), and the prose for the most part resists the pyrotechnics of Bushwhacked Piano or Ninety-Two in the Shade. Although the wit and the eye for comedy in human affairs remains, the problem of human – and particularly family – relationships is taken far more seriously than in his early novels. The familiar setting and certain personal parallels make for easy inferences of McGuane himself in his string of male protagonists in these novels, with the obvious exception of the female protagonist, Evelyn, in The Cadence of Grass (2002).

McGuane is quick to point out, however, that unlike these protagonists, he has been happily married to Laurie Buffett since the late '70s and, in the estimation of one Montana friend (William Kittredge), has a “genius for living well,” the prescription for which seems to include ample family time, reading, writing, cutting horses, and flyfishing, all in the Boulder River valley near McLeod, Montana, where McGuane has moved his ranch from Paradise Valley.

Among the later novels, Nothing but Blue Skies offers the broadest expression of McGuane's thoughts on life in America and the American West. A hangover from the counterculture lingers, as does disillusionment over economic ambition. The West, perhaps, provides more opportunities for refuge from it all, though the refuge is diminishing every day. Still there are those who worship the “god of handsome land” (McGuane plainly among them) and try their best to understand the interpersonal shortcomings and cynicism of the locals, having faith that many of them are genuinely decent and commendable.

While the whole of McGuane's fiction has only sporadic episodes of serenity and hopefulness — with Nothing But Blue Skies one of the most hopeful novels — Larry McMurtry has observed that McGuane's nonfiction writing displays a markedly contrasting inner peace and natural spirituality. McGuane's paeans to fly fishing (The Longest Silence), horses (Some Horses) and the outdoors (An Outside Chance) capture his belief in the redemptive potential of nature and sporting ritual, and are widely considered among the finest writing in those genres.

Writing style

McGuane's writing is noted for its mastery of language (particularly the early novels), a comic appreciation for the irrational core of many human endeavors, multiple takes on the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, and an increasing devotion to family relationships and relationships with the natural world in the changing American West, primarily Montana, where he has made his home since 1968, and where his last five novels and many of his essays are set.

Selected works

  • The Sporting Club (1969, novel)
  • The Bushwacked Piano (1971, novel)
  • Ninety-Two in the Shade (1973, novel)
  • The Missouri Breaks (1976, screenplay, paperback original)
  • Panama (1978, autobiographical novel)
  • Nobody's Angel (1981, novel)
  • In the Crazies: Book and Portfolio (1984; ltd. ed. of 185)
  • Something to Be Desired (1985, novel)
  • To Skin a Cat (1986, short stories)
  • The Best American Short Stories (1986, story contribution, "Sportsmen")
  • Keep the Change (1989, novel)
  • Nothing but Blue Skies (1992, novel)
  • The Cadence of Grass (2002, novel)
  • The Best American Short Stories (2004, story contribution, "Gallatin Canyon")
  • The Best American Short Stories (2005, story contribution, "Old Friends")
  • The Best American Short Stories (2006, story contribution, "Cowboy")
  • Gallatin Canyon (2006, short stories)
  • Driving on the Rim (2010, novel)
  • Crow Fair (2015, short stories)
  • The Best American Short Stories 2015 (2015, story contribution)
  • Cloudbursts (2018, short stories)
  • An Outside Chance (1981)
  • Best American Sports Writing, 1992 (1993)
  • Live Water (1996)
  • The Best American Essays (1997, essay contribution, "Twenty-fish Days")
  • The Best American Sports Writing (1997, essay contribution, "The Way Home")
  • Some Horses (1999)
  • The Longest Silence (2000)
  • Upstream: Fly Fishing in the American Northwest (1999)
  • Horses (2005)
  • The Best American Sports Writing (2005, essay contribution, "Seeing Snook")
  • The Best American Mystery Stories (2012, essay contribution, "The Good Samaritan")
  • The Best American Mystery Stories (2015, essay contribution, "Motherlode")


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  3. ^ a b c d "He's Left No Stone Unturned". Time. June 24, 2001. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b Eder, Richard (January 22, 1976). "92 in the Shade (1975) Self-Indulgence Is Triumphant in '92 in the Shade'". The New York Times.
  5. ^
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  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

92 in the Shade

92 in the Shade is a 1975 American drama film written and directed by Thomas McGuane, based on his 1973 novel of the same name, it stars Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Elizabeth Ashley and Margot Kidder.

Bridget Fonda

Bridget Jane Fonda (born January 27, 1964) is a retired American actress. She is known for her roles in The Godfather Part III (1990), Single White Female (1992), Singles (1992), Point of No Return (1993), It Could Happen to You (1994), and Jackie Brown (1997). She is the daughter of Peter Fonda, niece of Jane Fonda and granddaughter of Henry Fonda.

Fonda was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Mandy Rice-Davies in the 1989 film Scandal and provided the voice for Jenna in the 1995 animated feature film Balto.

She received an Emmy Award nomination for the 1997 TV film In the Gloaming, and a second Golden Globe Award nomination for the 2001 TV film No Ordinary Baby.

Keep the Change

Keep the Change may refer to:

Keep the Change (album), an album by ApologetiX

Keep the Change, an album by Ralph Bowen

"Keep the Change" (General Hospital: Night Shift), an episode of the US TV series General Hospital: Night Shift

Keep the Change (film), a 1992 TV film starring William Petersen, adapted from a novel by Thomas McGuane (see next)

Keep the Change, a novel by Thomas McGuane

"Keep the Change" (song), a 2011 song by Hank Williams, Jr.

List of American films of 1975

A list of American films released in 1975.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The highest-grossing film of 1975 was Jaws.

List of fiction books about Montana

This is a list of fiction books related to the state of Montana.

Across the Brazos by Ermal Walden Williamson

All in One Place: A Novel by Carolyne Aarsen

Along Came Jones by Linda Windsor

Ash Child: A Gabriel du Pré Mystery by Peter Bowen

Back in the Bachelor's Arms by Victoria Pade

Badger Games by Jon Jackson

Badlands by Peter Bowen

Barb Wire by Walt Coburn

The Bear Paw Horses by Will Henry

Big Sky Country by Janet Dailey

The Big Sky: A Novel by A.B. Guthrie

Bitterroot by James Lee Burke

Bittersweet Country by Elaine Long

Blood Atonement: A Dahlgren Wallace Mystery by Jim Tenuto

Blood Bond by William W. Johnstone

Blood Lure by Nevada Barr

Blood of the Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone

Blood on the Saddle by Dan Cushman

Blood Ties by Sigmund Brouwer

Blood Trail by Gary Cook

The Blue Bird House by Rae Ellen Lee

Blue Deer Thaw by Jamie Harrison

Blue Spruce by David Long

The Bluejay Shaman by Llise McClendon

The Cadence of Grass by Thomas McGuane

Coyote Wind: A Gabriel du Pré Mystery by Peter Bowen

The Edge of the Crazies by Jamie Harrison

Going Local by Jamie Harrison

Her Prairie Knight by B.M. Bowers

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

Keep the Change by Thomas McGuane

The Last Protest: A Story of Montana by Henry Oyen

Montana 1948: A Novel by Larry Watson

Montana Midnight: A Novel by David Emil Henderson

Nothing But Blue Skies by Thomas McGuane

Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling

A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

An Unfortunate Prairie Occurrence by Jamie Harrison

Midwestern Gothic

Midwestern Gothic is an American literary magazine based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 2010 by Robert James Russell and Jeff Pfaller, Midwestern Gothic publishes both fiction, essays and poetry.In 2013, Midwestern Gothic expanded into a book division, MG Press. They also run an annual literary festival, Voices of the Middle West, in partnership with the University of Michigan's Residential College.Midwestern Gothic also runs frequent interviews with influential Midwestern authors and poets, such as Charles Baxter, Matt Bell, Marianne Boruch, Peter Ho Davies, Stuart Dybek, Alice Friman, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Thomas McGuane.

Nude Men

Nude Men is the 1993 debut novel by American writer Amanda Filipacchi. At age twenty-two, she wrote it as her thesis for Columbia University's graduate creative writing program. It was published by Viking in hardback and by Penguin in paperback, and was translated into 13 languages, including French, Turkish, and Hebrew. The Chicago Tribune wrote that it was "reminiscent of some of Philip Roth's zanier explorations of identity and sexuality." Kirkus Reviews noted that it "combines the techniques of Thomas McGuane with bits of Lolita and The Picture of Dorian Gray."

Rancho Deluxe

Rancho Deluxe is a 1975 contemporary western film that was directed by Frank Perry and released in 1975. Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterston star as two cattle rustlers in modern-day Livingston, Montana who plague a wealthy ranch owner, played by Clifton James.

The film also stars Harry Dean Stanton, Richard Bright, Elizabeth Ashley and Slim Pickens as the aging detective Harry Beige hired to find the rustlers.

Jimmy Buffett contributed the music, and performed "Livingston Saturday Night" with alternate lyrics within the film in a scene set at a country and western bar.

The script was by novelist Thomas McGuane.

The Sporting Club

The Sporting Club is the 1968 debut novel of author Thomas McGuane.

The Sporting Club (film)

The Sporting Club is a 1971 American comedy film directed by Larry Peerce and written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. It is based the 1968 novel The Sporting Club by Thomas McGuane. The film stars Robert Fields, Nicolas Coster, Maggie Blye, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart and William Roerick. The film was released on February 28, 1971, by Embassy Pictures.

Thomas McGuane bibliography

List of works by or about the American writer Thomas McGuane.

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