Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nothing but Blue Skies

I think I was in a bad mood when I read Nothing but Blue Skies by Thomas McGuane (1992). Well, actually I know I was, but I think I might have taken my mood out on this book. I really like 92 in the Shade, the movie McGuane wrote and directed, based on his novel of the same name. And I also liked his screenplay for Rancho Deluxe. Sadly, Nothing but Blue Skies just didn't do it for me.

This book tells the story of Frank Copenhaver, a successful Montana businessman whose wife has just left him for another man. Frank does not take this well, and slides down an emotional slope that leads him into frantic and unpredictable sex with his wife's best friend, too much drinking, bar fights, arrests, neglecting of the business interests, loss of money, and lots and lots of fly fishing. This book has some very funny comic scenes, and I think if the tone of the book had played more towards absurdist comedy, I would have liked it better. As it is, the comedy is cut with more serious contemplations of Frank's life, particularly the (I think) rather tired yearning for his young hippy days and Big Chill-like questioning of his current rich-guy status (Where did our ideals and fun-times go? Why am I so old and rich now?).

Other books have done the middle-aged man crisis of identity better than this, and while I would gladly read more McGuane (maybe some 70s stuff), I can't wholeheartedly recommend this one.

[I can, however, recommend the author photo from the book jacket. Nice.]

[In addition, did you know McGuane was married to Margot Kidder for one year (and they had a child together), and then married Jimmy Buffet's sister?]

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