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To Skin a Cat
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To Skin a Cat

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  181 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Thomas McGuane's first short story collection; 13 stories of great range, verve and humor.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 12th 1987 by Vintage (first published 1986)
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This one is a real mixed bag of good, bad and everything in between.

Some of the tales are a bit unsettling, including one that involves a father deciding how to best capitalize on his teenage daughter's pregnancy.

Some were amusing, but bittersweet, like the story about how one man's strange mid-life crisis leads him to steal his friends' dogs.

There was one true standout - The Skirmish, involving a boy's struggles with a trio of unbelievably nasty bullies.

When the slow-moving green-to-brown wat
Benjamin Obler
Jan 11, 2015 Benjamin Obler rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Josh LaBau
Infectious. Lines like knife-stabs. But half the time, McGuane's characters are beyond comprehension. Maybe it's my blind spot. I'm pretty pick on matters of masculinity in characters. Why that is--is an essay begging to be written. Don Delillo strikes this nerve with me, as does Denis Johnson at times. Anyway, I bailed on two stories in this collection, one of which was the longest, title piece. Regardless, I was inspired to write about some rough and tumble types and to try galloping through a ...more
McGuane, Thomas. TO SKIN A CAT. (1986). ****. This was McGuane’s first collection of short stories, culled from a variety of publications. There are thirteen of them, and, aside from the title story, they are generally only a few pages long. McGuane is a slick writer, and the stories demonstrate his slickness. They don’t fall into any specific category, but cover the gamut of subjects from everyday people to those with some obvious social problems. They are set in either Montana or Ohio, or in s ...more
Achieved the impossible: made the Midwest even more boring than it really is.
The tone of some of these stories, as conveyed thru the dialogue between oddly motivated characters, is so peculiar! Interesting, mostly, because you're a little bit haunted by how much you may be forced to examine your own choices in life. Or reconcile a bit how you judge others. I think McGuane created here at least one to moon over. And at least one to pity and dismiss.
Mar 28, 2008 Tim marked it as to-read

My first introduction to Mcguane, it is a collection of short stories. Most were interesting reading but sometimes with a hard to interpret twist. "To Skin a Cat" was the most lengthy of all and by far the most entertaining read.
as a collection I would give this book a 3 star rating, but there are a couple of specific stories - "dogs" and "flight" that are simply so moving and well written that it makes picking up the whole collection extremely worth it.
James Specht
I've read some of McGuane's earlier work (60s-70s) and found it over written. By the 80s he seemed to mellow out a bit. I really enjoyed the short stories in here.
I had high hopes for this book, but it disappointed. Maybe his 'Gallitan Canyon' will be better...
Nov 02, 2007 J.P. marked it as to-read
I've heard a lot about this guy. Any recommendations?
Craig marked it as to-read
Feb 26, 2015
Wesley marked it as to-read
Sep 14, 2014
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