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To Skin a Cat

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  219 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
An excellent short story collection--McGuane's first--that affirms his place as one of America's most energetic and graceful writers. "A cornucopia of McGuane's grace, humor, gusto and smarts . . ".
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 12th 1987 by Vintage (first published 1986)
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Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 29, 2017 added it
This is McGuane's first story collection, and though it's not as strong as his later collections Gallatin Canyon and Crow Fair (the latter of which might be his best book), there are still plenty of wonderful turns of phrases and surprising and satisfying plots.

-"Like a Leaf" is my favorite in the collection. As McGuane's career progressed, his writing style became less zany and more restrained, and this story, originally published in Playboy in 1983, is a mean and perfect distillation of his e
Teresa Proença
Um contito sobre um moço que ambiciona ser chulo. Uma profissão difícil e muito perigosa...
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Brilliant. What a collection of stories loosely outlined below.

1. A married couple with designs on selling their daughter's baby

2. A lackey sent to fetch a rich assholes recently purchased world class bird dog, how he loses the dog, and how the dog finds its way back home

3. A lonely voyeur and a slutty exhibitionist pinned in a small town sordidly connected to a prison yard gang bang

4. A touched kleptomaniac, hit by a line drive in the town softball game, who nabs town folk's dogs

5. A ski
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Benjamin Obler
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 picky 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 ...more
Dana Jerman
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 27, 2008 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.
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Achieved the impossible: made the Midwest even more boring than it really is.
Pamela Shauger
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
i love thomas mcguane!!!
James Specht
Jan 29, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
R.K. Cowles
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book, but it disappointed. Maybe his 'Gallitan Canyon' will be better...
Nov 02, 2007 marked it as to-read
I've heard a lot about this guy. Any recommendations?
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