Customer Review

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings, February 26, 2011
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This review is from: Driving on the Rim (Hardcover)
After reading Tom McGuane's Driving on the Rim I'm left with mixed feelings. It can't be denied that McGuane is wonderful with his use of the English language. Often I would reread a sentence or paragraph to appreciate his gift with words. This is a finely crafted novel.

That being said, it was one of the more difficult McGuane books to read. Did it meander, certainly. I like a well crafted story, but what McGuane seems to have done is joined the club of bigger is better. I can't read John Irvine anymore because of this. His early works were also finely crafted but somewhat streamlined. Like Jim Harrison, he writes pictures with words. Unlike Jim Harrison, McGuane's Driving on the Rim seems to lose focus at times. There are so many "side" characters at times, the book stalls. I understand that each of the "side" characters help one understand the way the mind of Rim's central character worked, but were they all necessary?

I'm left with the impression that McGuane loves the West, but is largely not impressed with the people of the West. Without going into the politics of the area too much, the drift I get is Mr. McGuane is a very liberal man, but is living in one of the more conservative areas of our country. If one is more liberal minded, as I am, you will enjoy some of his "nuggets". If not, you will not appreciate some of his humor. Speaking of humor, there are many laugh out loud moments in Driving on the Rim.

Bottom line. It's tough to critique a book created by someone who on his worst day is better than I could ever hope to be in creating and weaving together literature the in way in which McGuane writes. Did I enjoy reading Driving on the Rim? Yes. However, unlike many books I have truly enjoyed, I was happy when I reached this novel's end. Is the book good? Yes. Is the book great? No. In conclusion, I did enjoy Driving on the Rim, but I did not get that cerebral/gut impact feeling as from some of his earlier work. However, I would recommend the book if you are a fan of Tom McGuane.

***I am amending my overall review after lately reading a number of books that I would give three stars. Hopefully their reviews are soon to follow. My rational is that McGuane's "Driving On The Rim" is much better than any of the books I would rate as three star books. My critique of this book remain in place, but in fairness, it also merits a better rating and I gladly give it the extra star.***
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 12, 2012 12:03:09 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 12, 2012 12:08:39 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 12, 2012 12:07:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 12, 2012 12:16:43 PM PST
Easy Reader says:
Your continual use of the rhetorical question/response device is telling:
"Did I enjoy reading Driving on the Rim? Yes"
"Is the book good? Yes."
"Is the book great? No."

...and so on.

In this short review you also managed to work in "That being said...."
and the threadbare "Bottom line" we all know and love.

You may be right when you say you couldn't write as well as McGuane on his worst day--few could-- but avoiding these cliches might improve any future reviews.

I do agree with much of what you say, especially the annoying bigger-is-better trend that seems to be creeping into his work.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 7:26:42 PM PST
Immer says:
Forgive me my cliches. I'm just one of the common people who enjoys a good story from a good wordsmith. If I could write as well as McGuane, me thinks you would still be critical, if in fact you do agree with much that I say. Thanks for the reply as it's good to know that folks do read, both the books and what one writes about them.
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