Crow Fair: Stories
It is wonderful to pick up a collection of short stories written by an expert and proficient writer like Thomas McGuane. The stories are set in Big Sky country and feature characters who don’t know the half of their own stories. The setting might be the west, but there is no big sky here. Each story has a feeling of claustrophobia. For example, the story of the divorced dad who takes his son ice fishing fills one with so much tension that it becomes hard to read. The story “Crow Fair” is the last in the book and reveals a closely guarded secret. The stories are rich in metaphor and images: each character trapped in their own small world of relationships—father/son, wife/husband, a blind grandmother who is left outdoors to fend for herself. There is the car salesman who has a rancher father who makes his life feel unbelievably circumscribed. These are impossible situations with humble characters realistically and imaginatively drawn. McGuane is not a myth buster of the west, but a writer who can tell a realistic story and create apprehension in the reader. Highly recommended.