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Keep the Change

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  249 Ratings  ·  21 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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(showing 1-30 of 442)
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Lawrence Leporte
Aug 26, 2013 Lawrence Leporte rated it really liked it
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 liked it  ·  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
Apr 09, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 26, 2014 Reid rated it it was ok
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
Jim Leckband
Nov 14, 2015 Jim Leckband rated it really liked it
While I admired the writing in this novel, the one problem I have with it is that I couldn't figure out the title. The only thing I can come up with (view spoiler)

It seems McGuane has a reputation as a man's man writer, like Jim Harrison. I guess this is because he writes about cowboys
Melinda Seifert
Jan 30, 2015 Melinda Seifert rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 19, 2011 Gloria rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary-lit
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
Feb 05, 2015 Matt Phillips rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 23, 2015 Tim rated it did not like it
Lowest rating I have ever given a book that I finished.
Apr 18, 2012 Keith rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
May 17, 2013 Vicky rated it it was ok
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.
Beverly Hollandbeck
Someone recommended McGuane to me, so I got this one. Not so impressed. It's about a man who goes back to the family farm. Nothing happens. Very slowly.
Jul 03, 2012 Chas rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 12, 2009 Jason M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
I loved the first half a bit more than the second, or maybe I just flowed into a different mood.
Christy Leonardo
Nov 12, 2011 Christy Leonardo rated it it was amazing
Another stunner from the master. Each McGuane is a new tread on a trusted wheel.
Feb 17, 2015 James rated it it was amazing
Liked the character and setting. Read in Mom's apartment on Pratt Street
Apr 07, 2008 Tim rated it liked it

Good read, would he be offended if I compared him to McMurtry?
Jun 26, 2012 Marti added it
Passed on to me by Mom.
Jon Ruhlen
Jon Ruhlen marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2016
Livy marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2016
Mark Carnevale
Mark Carnevale rated it liked it
Jun 09, 2016
Mike N
Mike N rated it liked it
Jun 06, 2016
W. Keith
W. Keith rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2016
Stearnsl rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2016
Life_geek marked it as to-read
Jun 04, 2016
Jeff rated it liked it
Jun 01, 2016
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