Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label McGuane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label McGuane. Show all posts

17 September, 2016

Thomas McGuane, "Cowboy"

Shane, or the name he's going by now, tells of his time, after prison, working for the brother and the sister. It's a rough life calving and roping and breaking horses. The three manage to make a go of it. "The old sumbitch and I got along good." Shane lives in the LeisureLife mobile home until the sister dies and then he moves in with the brother. The brother gets a dog, Tony. "Finally, Tony got old and died."And, then the brother's health goes down hill, "Then the state got wind of his condition and took him to town." Shane continues on just as we all must do even as people die around us. "There's always an opening for a cowboy, even a old sumbitch like me, if he can halfway make a hand." The theme of the story is that as long as we can be useful and there's gumption left to work, life goes on. Shane has become the "sumbitch" that the brother used to be as when one dies, someone fills in. Life goes on in the larger scheme.

"Cowboy" is included in McGuane's collection, Gallatin Canyon. "Cowboy" was first published in The New Yorker. I decided to pull my copy off of the shelf after reading Short Story Magic Tricks blog entry.

27 December, 2013

Thomas McGuane, "Stars"

Jessica Ramirez, an astronomer, is angry, but about what we never learn, exactly. She moves through life angering and confronting everyone. "Looking back at the terrified wolf, which was trying now to fling itself away from the trap, she heard herself say, 'I'd rather shoot you than that animal.'"

"It occurred to Jessica that she might have been happier as a dog."

The story begins with her hiking and coming upon a wolf in a trap with a man standing over the animal with a gun and ends with her hiking and hearing some wolves. "A pure singing note rose, high and sustained, then another, in a kind of courtly diction. Wolves."

 She visits a therapist but, "It seemed that he intended to cure her through his facial expressions."

"Stars" is written in a close third person POV. There are great descriptions of the land. The protagonist knows the stars, she hikes, keenly observing the land until all that remains to learn about is her anger.

Favorite lines:
"Maybe it was the karaoke machine in his bachelor apartment or his unpleasant cat or the Ping-Pong matches he pressured her into; the way he darted around in a crouch at his end of the table made it clear to her that she'd never sleep with him again."

"Men preferred women teetering, so she chose to walk like a Neanderthal."