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Keep the Change

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  221 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The picaresque and heartbreaking adventures of Joe Starling, one of the last great American romantic heroes, are seen in this story of his quest for his roots and his rightful inheritance.
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by Houghton Mifflin
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 399)
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Lawrence Leporte
I imagine a literary agent. A Hollywood-stock character in his late sixties with big, plastic-framed glasses, sitting in a crummy office in Manhattan or Burbank and barking into the telephone: “Tommy, I love you like a brother but the critics are bustin' my balls. They want a story. If I'm gonna sell you to the Prozac crowd then for Chrissake you gotta gimme some plot!”

And then, flustered: “Hang on a minute Tommy, I got Danielle Steel on the other line.”

When it came out in 1989, at least one pr
Patrick Gibson
May 20, 2009 Patrick Gibson rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like contemporary literature
Recommended to Patrick by: the God of Used Books
It seems to me there was a time when McGuane’s early novels from the 70’s were everywhere. I remember at the college bookstore there were pervasive copies of ‘The Bushwacked Piano’ and ‘Nobody’s Angel.' Even in the reference section, no doubt. From sheer dominance and staying power I ended up reading both—then wondering what the fuss was all about. After 18 years of an eastern seaboard education (I started with kindergarten, didn’t you?) I crossed the Mississippi and eventually discovered the We ...more
Interesting enough for me to read once all the way through, though I did contemplate not finishing a few times, but not one I'll need to read again. I'm always looking for books like A River Runs Through It that really portray the essence of the Rocky Mountain area. But this book just didn't do that for me. One exchange came close, but still not quite there:
"But this country, it's the big romance in your life, isn't it?"
"For what it's worth."
"The mountains?"
"I don't particularly like the mountai
It has been many years since I read book by Thomas McGuane. I remember thinking they had great humor and wisdom in them, that they were both clever and engaging. I particularly recall The Bushwhacked Piano and Ninety-two in the Shade as rollicking, spirited joy rides with quirky characters who took us along to places we never thought we would go.

This book does not belong in that class. Of course, it could be that I have changed more than Mr. McGuane's style or the quality of his writing. As I lo
Melinda Seifert
Great Book. But then, I haven't read anything by Thomas McGuane that I haven't loved!
Thomas McGuane is one of the greatest living writers in the world, and there is nothing wrong with the writing in this short novel. At the same time, I found over its course that this was the least interesting of the novels I've read by him so far...possibly because his hero is too responsible, maybe? I tend to like the shambling, naive heroes in McGuane, the ones who stumble into their redemption. Macho, cerebral outsider Joe Starling bides his time coolly toward his just rewards on Papa's ranc ...more
While Montana is cast as "the last best place" by many of its writers, McGuane seems to see the place as a land of lost hope and illusion. Knee deep in ironies, the story turns in many ways on a faded painting in an abandoned ranch house that Joe, the main character, remembers from boyhood. Grown up now and a painter himself, who doesn't paint anymore, he abandons a Cuban girlfriend in Florida and fetches up after a cross country drive at the old home ranch to spend a season fattening cattle for ...more
Thomas McGuane, according to Kay Bonetti in Conversations with American Novelists, "writes about brooding protagonists, displaced people, characters who cannot seem to put down roots or reach out to things beyond themselves. These characters are often ironically connected and shaped by their relationships to landscape and place." McGuane's fiction--some of which shares locales and sensibilities with that of Ernest Hemingway--brings an ironic twist to the plight of the modern American male. (Cont ...more
Matt Phillips
The emotional power in this book is... well, staggering. A gorgeous work that conjures the Mountain West and the curious visions that lead us to do the things we love.
This was a very fast read for me (good) as I wasn't tempted to put the book down and try another. In fact, the story felt like a battle between fast and slow. The dialogue felt rapid, many of the characters seemed impatient, yet the setting of a Montana ranch town epitomized slow, taking it one moment at a time. Want to try more from this author
Maybe I shouldn't rate it because I stopped reading it half-way through, something I rarely do. I've liked other of his works, but this seemed sloppy and haphazard.
Possibly McGuane's best novel. Or maybe tied with Nothing But Blue Skies. I love his humor, sense of irony and keen character perception.
Paul Garns
McGuane can write with the best of em, but the lack of real direction or purpose in his characters' lives gets frustrating real quick.
Jason M.
I loved the first half a bit more than the second, or maybe I just flowed into a different mood.
Christy Leonardo
Another stunner from the master. Each McGuane is a new tread on a trusted wheel.
Liked the character and setting. Read in Mom's apartment on Pratt Street

Good read, would he be offended if I compared him to McMurtry?
Jun 26, 2012 Marti added it
Passed on to me by Mom.
Jen is currently reading it
Jul 29, 2015
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Ninety-two in the Shade The Bushwhacked Piano Nothing but Blue Skies Driving on the Rim Gallatin Canyon

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