Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thomas McGuane's Panama

The narrator of this book speaks/writes in what I would describe as a sort of short hand frenetic masculine investigation of the minutia of his personal loss. His words serve as a slightly inebriated or surreal magnification of his regret, his quixotic pursuits, his isolations. The verbosity swerves from distancing to fascinating. Sometimes it is hard to judge which way I feel about it. Still I keep turning the pages to see what sort of Florida Key collage environment and the prose that it inspires that comes up next. Often I'm rewarded with something like this quote...

She was sitting in front of me, and put her hand up inside herself thoughtless as she talked. I considered the wonder of things that befell me, convinced that my life was the best omelet you could make with a chainsaw.

Its total freedom is both the source of its allure as well as the reason your brow furrows. It is a maze, but a rewarding one. It's like finding a line of Bukowski or hell even Spillane as if it were a beam of light prismed through an REM song. Here there is a whiff however faint of whatever Hunter S Thompson was smoking in his wilder moments. As the story unfolds, it feels as if entire pieces of the story are just discarded or forgotten or ignored by the narrator, but the voice of the narrator remains uncompromisable. He is a man that you want to know better, but who finds himself constantly caught in some sort of trap of circumstance baited by his love of women, his need for confrontation with anything false. The omissions are the sort of omissions that the narrator would make. His segues are the exact sort made by the lonely, intelligent, and unhinged.

I'm really intrigued so far by the book. I can't wait to read another of his books.

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