The great Thomas McGuane. Talking to David Abrams:
I haven't looked at Ninety-Two in the Shade since I wrote it. You know, when I was done with Ninety-Two in the Shade, I felt very complete. I had worked on it so intensely, I could recite the book. I've had no particular inclination to look at it again, however.Interviewed in The Paris Review:
From the New Yorker:McGUANE...I had been successful in creating for myself a sheltered situation in which to function in this very narrow way I felt I wanted to function, which was to be a literary person who was not bothered very much by the outside world. My twenties were entirely taken up with literature. Entirely. My nickname during that period was "the White Knight," which suggests a certain level of overkill in my judgment of those around me.
INTERVIEWERWhat sorts of things had led you to develop this white-knight image?
McGUANEFear of failure. I was afflicted with whatever it takes to get people fanatically devoted to what they're doing. I was a pain in the ass. But I desperately wanted to be a good writer. My friends seem to think that an hour and a half effort a day is all they need to bring to the altar to make things work for them. I couldn't do that. I thought that if you didn't work at least as hard as the guy who runs a gas station then you had no right to hope for achievement. You certainly had to work all day, everyday. I thought that was the deal. I still think that's the deal.
Q: There's something almost cinematic about the way you capture most of a life in a series of very quick scenes from it. Were you thinking of movies when you wrote this?Mark Kamine discusses McGuane's work at Believer:
A: I'm not a moviegoer. I grew up in a town without a cinema and never caught the habit, though I have worked in the movies. I stole this narrative strategy from Muhammad Ali: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." It works if you have to cover ground in limited space. One of the limitations of "dirty realism" is that you can't budge. If you're a genius like Raymond Carver or his precursor Harold Pinter such confinement is an advantage. But, for many of their successors, it's claustrophobic.
McGuane is one of the rare contemporary American writers whose characters always do things. 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—or, when they are, they are artists becoming cattle ranchers, as in Keep the Change (1989). In this way issues of class and money arise naturally, between bosses and workers, and the sense of automatic and persistent injustice is apparent and recurrent. The disadvantaged are abundantly aware of this, even when they themselves are acting badly.The Blue Hammer is one of the best books in the Lew Archer detective series by author Ross Macdonald AKA Kenneth Millar.