08 February 2009

Book Review: Gallatin Canyon by Thomas McGuane

I have noticed something with regard to my reading habits. It seems that I am slowly warming up to the idea of reading a book that is not a novel, but instead is a collection of short stories. And this book that I recently finished is one of them.

The thing that usually irks me about short story collections is the fact that I usually find myself at a loss when I finally get to like the protagonist, and suddenly the story ends and another one begins. I suppose that is just how short stories are, and that is just a fact of life. But once I learned to see past that, and appreciate that, then I supposed I was good to go.

So this one is another one of those collections, and the stories, aside from two who share a common protagonist, are not related to one another. The only common theme that the stories have on each other is the fact that every story is set in rural America. No urban talk at all here. It doesn't have to be on the mountain or on an outback. One story in fact was set in the ocean, when the protagonist decided to go and set sail, and let the wind guide him while being tossed and turned in the Gulf Stream.

I suppose I like this collection since it features several visual imaging techniques, mixing the feeling of loneliness and fear. Especially since I have the experience of passing by a dark rural highway in the American back-country, so there are plenty of imagery that one can conjure as one reads this collection. The final story is a good ending too: there was this scene where the protagonist and his partner were driving at night, and suddenly a car decides to tailgate them. The ensuing chase and inevitable disastrous end was a nice conclusion to the book.

All in all, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It doesn't have full points, but it is way better than the average.

See my other book reviews here.

(Statue of Mahatma Gandhi, from my Embassy Row Series)

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