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Montana native son Lucien Taylor, child of a dysfunctional Eisenhower-era family, seems fated to the same aimless life and ill-fated adventures and mistakes as his father. Something to be Desired follows Taylor through his own life of bad decisions and the fallout of even his best intentions. The novel embodies the best of McGuane's unique literary stylistics and quirky obMontana native son Lucien Taylor, child of a dysfunctional Eisenhower-era family, seems fated to the same aimless life and ill-fated adventures and mistakes as his father. Something to be Desired follows Taylor through his own life of bad decisions and the fallout of even his best intentions. The novel embodies the best of McGuane's unique literary stylistics and quirky observational humor."Nobody writes so well about the incongruities of modern western America...'Something To Be Desired' is as invigorating as a fresh whiff of sage...a welcome relief from the overly wrought and overly cautious fiction of so many of his contemporaries."-Howard Frank Mosher, Chicago Tribune Books...

Title : Something to Be Desired
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 394731565
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 173 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Something to Be Desired Reviews

  • Evan
    2018-12-06 17:34

    A Thomas McGuane novel is like a hearty western breakfast on the range, except that the bacon portion is sliced from the gamey ass of a dead Sasquatch.That probably doesn't make much sense unless you've read McGuane--and maybe still doesn't even if you have. McGuane's quirky sense of reality is so on-point that it somehow it all comes out seeming surreal. It's like Tom Bodett left the light on for Salvador Dali.What McGuane typically does--and I can say this now because I've read three of his alternately frustrating and effervescent novels--is chronicle the maddening journey of male protagonists hell-bent on self-destruction. McGuane's men long for lives that resemble a placid pool but who nonetheless run without breaking stride toward a jump into class-six rapids. They know that they're doing wrong, but the logic of the moment always seems to favor madness.McGuane's protagonists strive for redemption by taking the long, circuitous, arduous path of hedonism. The path to the right is rarely certain, and, in McGuane's hands never preachy or moralistic. When McGuane picks up clay, he sculpts a subject beautifully perfect in its grotesquerie.The novel begins around 1958 on the Montana homestead of the Taylor clan. There, young Lucien Taylor tries to live the life of a normal American boy despite the dysfunctions in his parents' rocky marriage. Not surprisingly, he grows to inherit many of his father's eccentricities and tendencies to ramble or follow his dick in the direction of the nearest willing snatch. This tendency proves nearly ruinous when he throws over the potentially idyllic family life with his beautiful patient wife, Suzanne, and their young son, James, in order to help an old flame in distress, Emily, a woman who may be even more erratic than himself in her habit of shooting down dead any man who crosses her. The unreliable Emily runs off again with a lover, in the process deeding over her Deadrock, Montana, ranch to the impoverished Lucien, who gets a brainstorm one day and turns it into a lucrative health resort built around a natural hot springs--the site of Lucien and Emily's first lovemaking. In the complications that ensue, Lucien tries to bond with his estranged wife and son, and finds himself in an affair with a bored local housewife, Dee, whose husband manages to extort hush money from Lucien at shotgun point--and a promise to pay the cuckolded husband to install seamless gutters at the resort, a technological miracle that, of course, does not keep the leaves out of the gutters as promised.The premise and story of this novel are slight in the extreme, but it's the beauty of McGuane's artfully hewn sentences and oddly humorous and sharp observational sense that give the reader such pleasure. He is one of the masters of enviromental description and the wry turn of phrase.Some of my favorite passages from the book:The town crouched in front of the terrific mountains to the south, great wildly irregular peaks that seemed to say to the little town, Don't try anything.The laughter and toasts that came from the house now seemed like a home team faithfully cheered for a bad loss."I had a girl named Shawna who wore a mood ring that was always nearly black. She cooked at the brandings and made eyes at the ropers. She was dumb. She read love comics and used her Chapstick as if it was a cigarette, and she was about as dumb as a stick. She lived at Parade Rest Trailer Park, which is no more than a breeding pen, and she was stick-ass dumb.""I'd follow her to the gates of Hell.""That's her most famous effect, all right.""Hundred-proof whiskey is a cowboy's color TV.""Lucien was now years older than than man she left him for." [Lucien thinking about the tendency of memory to freeze youth at a point in time.]"He also wondered if all those horses were indeed saddle horses or if there might not be a bronc mixed in there, disguising man-killer traits with good fellowship among the horses at the feed bunk."Lucien went inside; he filled the tub with deep hot water and soaked and watched the morning light cross the old linoleum flowers on the kitchen floor. He had benign thoughts for the man, now doubtlessly gone, who had dreamed up those appalling flowers for the linoleum factory. Could he have known what a half century's muddy boots and all that domestic abrasion would do to his bright flowers?He drank as much coffee as fast as he could and watched a two-by-four opening at the end of the room where the young girls danced together to a jukebox. Their movements were strange and formal, glassy and distant; and everything wonderful about their bodies was under twenty-four months old.He thought if dismounting were given the same importance in sex as it is in horsemanship, this would be a happier world.He walked along while the deep cold made a bas-relief map of his own skull, exposing bone through flesh and reminding him that cold, not heat, is the natural order.But he was growing calm; calm at first in defeat and in the drifting lethargy that defeat produces.Now he hated his feet, which were white paddles. They were not the honest arched dusky feet of the world's real people. They were the splayed white paddes of the superfluous.[Wick Tompkins, Lucien's lawyer:] "I have to get in eight billable hours in the next ninety minutes, then go to lunch."He too was afflicted; lately nothing could have been more trying, more purgatorial, than the activities of his poor old dick. Apart from the obvious, it had begun making two streams during urination, one for the bowl, the other filling his shoe or starting him upon an unwelcome dance; often, too, it saved a final spurt for when it had been returned to his pants...The last ten percent of her looks were still there to extrapolate the loss from.He had seen hawks on the ground, graceless as extremely aged people, and he knew their world was sky. He'd seen old cowboys limp to their horses, then fly over the land, and he knew what their world was too. He wanted his own life to be as plain.Virgins are bores, he thought, like people with overpriced houses."Self-discovery," he thought with loathing, for he was losing interest in himself.It seemed to Lucien that children took up great space when they were awake and then became so small when they fell asleep.Lucien Taylor's road to maturity is paved with hurled tampons, nannies with odd sexual proclivities and other sundry incident that you might find in a backwoods Montana resort town. Even as Lucien gets his shit together one is never sure up to the end of the book if he ever can or will, if he is fated to heedlessly make a muck of things, to forever knowingly commit stupidity as if drawn to it by some cosmic magnet.The book, at first, did not impress me, but as it moved along it enchanted me. McGuane is a magician, a master of language and creator of sentences that surprise you with a moonshine kick. And he's not above throwing in the inside joke or two. In one scene, two cowboys are debating an incident in the 1980 Steve McQueen western Tom Horn, the screenplay of which was written by McGuane.McGuane, I think, is one of the greatest living writers, based on the three novels I've read by him so far, but if you want to see how crazy he can get, I'd direct you to Panama first. Something to Be Desired is more genteel than that drug-addled book, but in its way is an excellent example of the author's art and craft.

  • David B
    2018-12-02 19:35

    This slim volume tells the story of Lucien Taylor, a man who walked away from his family and then tried to work his way back. It is sporadically effective in its representation of a self-destructive man and has an honest resolution, but its minimalist style distanced me from the characters. At times, I also felt the Heavy Hand of Symbolism, as in the character of Emily, who is apparently meant to represent the lure of the dangerous unknown.

  • Tony
    2018-11-25 14:46

    SOME THINGS TO BE DESIRED. (1984). Thomas McGuane. ***.McGuane almost had a novel here, but he soon got side-tracked by another effort. Don’t judge McGuane by this book. I found it to be the least compelling of all of his novels. Again, it had its moments, but the moments were far between. Disappointing.

  • Jeffrey
    2018-11-12 15:39

    A lost soul and his wandering dick walks away from his beautiful family for an old flame who is a murderous slut. Mostly unbelievable and wanting.Not my favorite McGuane - but decent.

  • A.J.
    2018-12-03 20:45

    Lucien Taylor, a State Department diplomat working in the Caribbean, leaves his wife and returns home to Montana to bail out a former lover, who is accused of murder. Unfortunately for Lucien, she's guilty as sin. He ends up with her ranch, which he converts into a successful, lucrative resort. Lucien has everything, except the one thing he most wants: to be reunited with his wife and son.Something to be Desired restores the humour that was missing from Panama and Nobody's Angel, but this is not the McGuane of 92 in the Shade. The over-the-top violence of his early novels is gone, and the humour is less manic.Some readers will be put off by Lucien's character. Except in his most recent novel (The Cadence of Grass), McGuane's protagonist is always a child of privilege, at odds with his world, who seems to lack any sense of direction. His good intentions are overshadowed by his missteps. Lucien is self-absorbed and blames his misfortunes on his penis, which seems to have a life of its own.For those who accept the protagonist, however, this novel is both funny and rueful. Well worth reading.

  • Jb
    2018-11-18 14:40

    This was my most recent visit with a McGuane novel in some time and I was blown away. After having read it, I ordered five others of his (four novels and a short story collection). The guy has a way with words and his characters seem to be distant, more rural cousins of those in Richard Ford novels. Loners in some way who seek companionship but seem to either a) shoot themselves in the foot b)blind themselves with a target too far in the distance or choose too large a target c) don't actually shoot for the target until everything else in their world is mucked up. These are contemplative characters whose views on the world are flawed but we want them to get it right. They are funny and tragic and just dang ole entertainin'.

  • Unbridled
    2018-11-21 21:28

    My first McGuane was an okay experience - nothing to be enthused about, nothing to be impressed by, nothing to be gained or lost. Laconic Western ethos: a reverence for nature, the physical, the animal, the brutal but valid; and dotted with situational humor, like the image of the drunk's 'hurricane walk' across the yard - going tree to tree. As a stylist, there is technical form, but nothing to be desired - nothing lives off the page, no sensations rise or sink into your skull. As a storyteller, he is adequate, but I couldn't escape the sensation that I was following steps in the snow - I might not know exactly where the steps ended, but everything was obvious a thousand feet in front of me. I'd read McGuane again, but I'd take my time moseying back.

  • David Bonesteel
    2018-11-21 17:38

    This slim volume tells the story of Lucien Taylor, a man who walked away from his family and then tried to work his way back. It is sporadically effective in its representation of a self-destructive man and has an honest resolution, but its minimalist style distanced me from the characters. At times, I also felt the Heavy Hand of Symbolism, as in the character of Emily, who is apparently meant to represent the lure of the dangerous unknown.

  • Andrew Cox
    2018-11-29 15:53

    It's probably 3.5 star writing, but it loses points for it's stupid, morally bankrupt protagonist. Too real to be grotesque, too grotesque to want it in your head. This is like the western "The real housewives of New Jersey", when you really want "Goodfellas", or "The Sopranos". I can take flawed characters, I can take the genre, but this is too awful for too little reward.

  • Frank Palardy
    2018-12-05 18:28

    This was worth reading. I'm not sure it was enough to be a book. I suspect the part about the spa was written for some magazine and the rest added to beef up the pages. The spa part was funny, reminded me of the late 80s. The writing was good, but again it was almost like a short story.

  • Ed
    2018-12-09 17:42

    This is writing that will wake you up. It is bracing, vivid and colorful. Passages are elliptical, yet at the same time each sentence seems to be logically necessary after the previous one. Brilliant.

  • Elaine
    2018-12-06 21:53

    On my book shelf for years. I finally read it as I wanted something from the high plains. We don't necessarily like the protagonist, Lucien, but we tend to understand him. Faced with the desires, uncertainties, and insecurities of life, can Lucien somehow make it all work out?

  • Keith
    2018-12-01 14:41

    starts slow, but left me wanting more

  • James
    2018-12-05 13:33

    L:iked the western character and setting.

  • Clint
    2018-11-15 18:41

    A good read - simple, but engaging story. fun.

  • Tattered Cover Book Store
    2018-11-10 13:42

    Author Rick Bass recomended this book as part of the Rocky Mountain Land Library's "A Reading List For the President Elect: A Western Primer for the Next Administration."

  • Bill
    2018-12-05 14:49

    A book lost in itself. I enjoyed it without understanding it.