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Media Center: ‘Cloudbursts’ by Thomas McGuane

March 5th, 2018

WHO: Thomas McGuane

WHAT: CLOUDBURST: Collected and New Stories

WHEN: Published by Knopf March 8, 2018

WHERE: The author lives in Montana.

WHY: “McGuane is a master.
“To read straight through a career-spanning collection of short stories is to see the writer’s obsessions laid bare through recurring themes. And if McGuane’s earlier works reveal a predilection for hunting, dogs, and eccentrics, those stories remain relatable to those who’ve never pulled a trigger or watched a dog quivering on point.
“The eccentrics continue to appear throughout his career, though they begin to look more and more like us: McGuane has a way of revealing mundane experience through extraordinary circumstance and can provoke powerful emotion in readers despite the frequent flatness of his prose. ‘Cowboy,’ which first appeared in the New Yorker in 2005, is still a stunner. It should also be said that he’s damn funny: regardless of its bullet-in-the-head ending, just try to read 2014’s ‘Motherlode’ without laughing again and again at the trio of would-be meth dealers.
“As his frequent appearances in Best American Short Stories attest, McGuane is a master, choosing his words with a lapidary’s precision and setting them in sentences that burn brightly, finishing his stories with epiphanies to treasure. Libraries containing To Skin a Cat (1986), Gallatin Canyon (2006), and Crow Fair (2015), his three previous collections, will already possess the majority of these stories. But there are four new works here, as well as four previously uncollected gems, and fans of the form should devour this opus from one of our finest living short-story writers.”
–Keir Graff, in a starred review for BOOKLIST

“Brief, stormy, and refreshing. McGuane’s stories erupt like the namesake of this marvelous collection.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, in a starred and boxed review

“A stellar writer on the outdoors.” –KIRKUS, in a starred review

. . . . .


We kept the perch we caught in a stone pool in front of the living-room window. An elm shaded the pool, and when the heavy drapes of the living room were drawn so that my mother could see the sheet music on the piano, the window re ected the barred shapes of the lake perch in the pool.
We caught them from the rocks on the edge of the lake, rocks that were submerged when the wakes of passing freighters hit the shore. From a distance, the freighters pushed a big swell in front of them without themselves seeming to move on the great flatness of the lake. My friend that year was a boy named Jimmy Meade, and he was learning to identify the vessel stacks of the freighters. We liked the Bob-Lo Line, Cleveland Cliffs, and Wyandotte Transportation with the red Indian tall on the sides of the stack. We looked for whalebacks and tankers and the laden ore ships and listened to the moaning signals from the horns as they carried over the water. The wakes of those freighters moved slowly toward the land along the unmoving surface of water. The wakes were the biggest feature out there, bigger than Canada behind them, which lay low and thin like the horizon itself.

Jacket photo

Media Resources:
About the book and author | Author tour | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

Knopf. 556 pages. $35 ISBN 978-0-385-35021-1

To interview the author, contact:
Gabrielle Brooks | 212-572-2152 |