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Thomas McGuane Biography

(1941– ), The Sporting Club, The Bush-whacked Piano, Ninety-Two in the Shade, Panama

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Harriet Martineau Biography to John McTaggart (John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart) Biography

American novelist, short-story writer, and essayist, born in Michigan, educated at Michigan State University, the Yale School of Drama, and Stanford. None of his first three novels is set exclusively in the West, though they all borrow ingredients from its traditional Western, most notably in their portrayal of lonely, disaffected individuals who court violence and who deliberately flout convention. The Sporting Club (1969), The Bush-whacked Piano (1971), and Ninety-Two in the Shade (1973) feature paired characters who are mirror images of each other's strengths and weaknesses. They are locked into a cycle of misunderstandings whose consequences are disastrous, yet their rebellion is based on an often incisive view of the society through which they move. Panama (1978), which marks a turning point in his fiction, repeats the scenario of his early novels, but dispenses with paired characters in favour of a more naked concentration on the relationship between father and son, which arguably underlies the kind of psychological malaise found in his previous three books. His next three novels, Nobody's Angel (1981), Something To Be Desired (1984), and Keep the Change (1989), all concern the attempt to return home, an attempt which always ends in failure, though this time his characters gather an increasing store of wisdom. Nothing But Blue Skies (1993) is an exuberantly comic novel, despite its concentration on mania and loss. To Skin a Cat (1986) is a collection of stories, and An Outside Chance (1980) is a notable collection of essays on sport. He has written the film scripts for The Missouri Breaks, Rancho DeLuxe, and Ninety-Two in the Shade, which he also directed.

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