Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cadence of Grass” as Want to Read:
The Cadence of Grass
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cadence of Grass

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  362 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Sunny Jim Whitelaw, a descendent of pioneers and owner of a large bottling plant, may have died, but he has no intention of relinquishing control: his will specifies that no one gets a cent unless his daughter Evelyn reconciles with her estranged husband, Paul. But Evelyn is a strong-willed woman, fiercely attached to the land, whose horses transport her to a West she feel ...more
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cadence of Grass, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Cadence of Grass

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
A.J.
For anyone with a solid familiarity with Thomas McGuane's work, this is a fascinating novel.

Here you have a novel with a female protagonist, written by a man who has often been written off as a male chauvinist pig, whose female characters have always been a major bone of contention with critics. You have a novelist who has continually been accused of rewriting autobiography, writing a novel that clearly has little to do with his own life. And you have the recognizable "McGuane protagonist" -- a
...more
Paul
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Ack, fantastic. The only issue here is that it wasn't longer. McGuane moves along at breakneck speed, flitting from scene to scene where there was plenty of room to linger. Sure, things get a bit madcap here and there, but he pulls it off—this thing is laugh-out-loud hilarious at times. Also heartbreaking. Really excited to read more McGuane. There were a few passages where a main character hung out with her horses for a bit too long, and I wasn't sure really what was gained there, but otherwise ...more
Gabe
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was published in 2002, 10 years after McGuane's previous novel (he published two nonfiction books in the interim), and the break seemed to be at least partly spent on reconstructing his style--as a result, "The Cadence of Grass" is significant for a few reasons. The two most important:

1. It's the beginning (or at least the full realization) of "late McGuane"
2. It's the only McGuane novel with a female protagonist

The two points are related, but let's look at them separately.

1. McGuane'
...more
Chris
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
If this book were made into a movie I would envision it as a combination of the TV shows "Dallas" and "Soap." It's about a rich dysfunctional family in Montana with the friction between the nouveaux riche and the cowboy/settler culture. I think if McGuane were to do an update of this family he would have written them into a reality show like Duck Dynasty or the Kardashians. It's witty, humorous, and with deep profound musing on the paths you take in life. This book reminded me a lot of the satir ...more
Jeffrey
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story. The ending was dark and rather odd. Crazy set of characters. However, the cross dressing cowboy was a bit of a stretch and didn't lend much to an otherwise exceptional story about a batshit crazy family. McGuane writes beautifully of horses and horsemanship.
Kai
Jan 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una scrittura rodata da anni di mestiere ma ancora affilata, un romanzo che trova nei particolari, nelle descrizioni e soprattutto nei personaggi una forza inaudita, una tridimensionalità più unica che rara. Thomas McGuane, classe ‘39, è un narratore di razza . Il canto dell’erba (Alet, pp. 224 - € 16) - tradotto armonicamente da Simona Sollai - con poche, rapide pennellate mette in scena le vicende della famiglia Whitelaw, una piccola dinastia di imprenditori del Montana su cui grava lo spirito ...more
J
Jan 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una scrittura rodata da anni di mestiere ma ancora affilata, un romanzo che trova nei particolari, nelle descrizioni e soprattutto nei personaggi una forza inaudita, una tridimensionalità più unica che rara. Thomas McGuane, classe ‘39, è un narratore di razza . Il canto dell’erba (Alet, pp. 224 - € 16) - tradotto armonicamente da Simona Sollai - con poche, rapide pennellate mette in scena le vicende della famiglia Whitelaw, una piccola dinastia di imprenditori del Montana su cui grava lo spirito ...more
Amanda Patterson
He was known in life as the man who never smiled and in death he manages to control his family with his dubious legacy. He leaves his widow a comfortable income but insists that his ex-convict son-in-law, Paul, manage the bottling plant. As if this isn’t bad enough, Paul and Sunny’s daughter, Evelyn, must reconcile.
This novel twists and turns through the hills of Montana as it meanders through the dysfunctional Whitelaw family. The story follows the lives of Jim’s wife, daughters, their husbands
...more
Martha
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my only McGuane book and I am thinking that is a good thing. A most negative review complained that he had not grown up as a writer with this novel - many years out from his last. But I know nothing about that. He is new to me and I loved most of it. This family stands as an example of my own father's succinct appraisal of humanity :" People are crazy." McGuane's crazy is funny and I laughed but the humor gets tricky and the story loses some points. It is at its best when MaGuane talks r ...more
Rollin
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first read of McGuane. Liked it a lot. Interesting cast of characters, good story, enjoyable writing style, with hard Montana ranch life as a backdrop.

Sounds like a lukewarm review. Why did I give it four stars? I loved the words, the humorously flawed but still (mostly) sympathetic characters, the crazy dysfunctional family and family business, and the incredibly detailed passages about horses and cows real close up. And a story with twists and turns that surprise sometimes. Oh, and a male
...more
Blaire
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I didn't care for this one. I'd have to describe the writing style as angular. It's more a man's book, I think, than a woman's. The sentence structure is often awkward as are the changes in scene. The writing shines occasionally when describing the weather and landscape, for which the author clearly has great affection. I found the characters to be shallowly drawn. The dialog didn't ring true to my ear, and was at times incomprehensible. Great title, though.
Andrew Thompson
Hmm, quite a good read, but bits of it I just skipped over. The ending is quite weird, almost mystical. I felt the author could have made more of the characters. The story jumps around for no apparent reason, making the narrative feel uncomfortably jerky. Apparently, it isn't his best book. I bought it ages ago after reading a review. Interestingly, a couple of other books I read on the recommendation of the same magazine were not that great either. I think I have learnt my lesson now.

Sarah Pascarella
Thanks to my uncle's recommendation, I've now found another envy-inspiring writer with Thomas McGuane. This is no easy read, though--the family is more despicable than The Corrections' Lamberts, the humor is as black as tar, and much of the violence comes as a sudden shock. But man can McGuane write--he's a master of economy, wit, and detail, and I'm in awe of how he can create a fully realized cast of characters in just a page or two.
Sally Rogers
I was really bored with the character development. I skipped the middle, went straight to the end and didn't miss much. I was excited to read this book; his contemporaries, Jim Harrison and Wallace Stegner are more thoughtful and deep in their novels. Maybe McGuane's earlier work would have been a better choice for me.
Autumn
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 4 stars is for the last 30 pages of the book; the words just about leap off the page, and the last 5 pages are electrifying, cathartic, inevitable, mystic, and horrible. I liked the language of the book a lot; the plot and most of the characters seemed secondary. Almost a horror novel in parts. I haven't read much else McGuane, but I will.
Laurie Gary
Jul 15, 2009 marked it as quit-reading  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Quite possibly a yawner. I'm on p.22 and I'm not quite sure yet what to think of it. My plan this summer is to stop reading any book I'm not enjoying, so stay we'll see.

Update: I returned it today. That felt good. I'm moving on :)
Christa
Aug 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 50-book-08
I read a short story of his awhile back, "Dogs", that I really liked and I've picked up a few of his longer pieces. This was mixed as well. Really fucking funny in some parts and a bit ragged in others, but overall it was decent. The guy has a mean sense of humor.
Mad
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this right up until the very end which seemed over the top. But McGuane's writing: wonderful characters, wonderful descriptions of Montana nature, both wild and human, make almost anything forgivable
John
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always like Thomas McGuane. He tells the same story a lot, but its a good story. The Montana scenery in this was fun but none of the characters drew me in. I started out reading his fiction but I like his non-fiction more these days. "Some Horses" is especially good.
Connor
Feb 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty well written book with some great colloquialisms, but the characters aren't particularly believable. Most of them are intentionally shitty people who are apparently only written about for the reader to get a thrill when they get their comeuppance.
Molly
Oct 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fellow Montanans and con men
Now, that's writing. Bleak and vaguely horrible, story-wise, but damn fine writing.
Maria Fotopoulos
I'm a long-time fan of McGuane ... this one has been sitting on my shelf for awhile awaiting my attention.
Tracy
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sorta reminds me of Walker Percy. Interesting book. Will definitely read some of his other books.
Tom
Aug 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book about families and life. I didn't like it as much as some of my favorite non-genre writers, but that's just a matter of taste.
Cynthia
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Liked this book, didn’t love it. Western setting. Land and family. Some humor. Rancher/friend is actually father of main female character
Devo
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A McGuane book in the tradition of McGuane books, the man has lost nothing. Stark and filled with pain. he is able to create characters so unlikeable and characters so likeable in the same novel.
Gretchen Eick
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McGuane writes beautiful prose and his story unfolds well. My frustration was the slimy darkness of some of the characters. Nevertheless, the book stays with me, which makes it a powerful read.
Karen Brown
I wanted to hurry it up. Like watching grass grow!
Tom
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too many diversions, and technically there were many parts that I simply had to reread to understand and follow which character was even talking.
Martha
Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was okay, started out strong with interesting characters but lost strength halfway through.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Thuggin In Miami (The Family Is Made : Part 1)
  • The Summer He Didn't Die
  • Summer Gone
  • Where the Sea Used to Be
  • Mountain Time
  • Fencing the Sky: A Novel
  • The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories
  • The Clarinet Polka
  • The Incumbent
  • Saints of Big Harbour
  • The Lighthouse at the End of the World
  • The Edge of Justice
  • The White Deer
  • The Book of Samson
  • Second Sight (Paul Christopher #7)
  • Violence of Action (Rogue Warrior, #10)

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • A Garden of Earthly Delights (Wonderland Quartet, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Loser
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Map and the Territory
    $8.99 $2.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Father's Day
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts (Sacketts, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Sugar Queen
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Birth House
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Open City
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Out of Sorts
    $5.99 $0.99
  • The Hearts of Men: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Revolutionary Road
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Blessings
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Choke
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Bachelor Girl
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Wednesday Sisters
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Allie and Bea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • After the War Is Over: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What Belongs to You
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The History of Bees: A Novel
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Love Goddess' Cooking School
    $10.99 $2.99
  • All the Summer Girls
    $8.74 $1.99
  • The Girl From the Train
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bitter Winds (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
    $14.99 $1.99
“She ate her breakfast in silence, then drove downtown in weather so lowering the streetlights seemed decapitated. This was when you could discover if your preparations for winter were adequate, and if you were ready for the restrictions of movement and light that were about to be upon you.” 3 likes
More quotes…