Place exerts the power of destiny in these ten stories of lives uncannily recognisable and unforgettably strange: a boy makes a surprising discovery skating at night on Lake Michigan; an Irish clan in Massachusetts gathers at the bedside of its dying matriarch; a battered survivor of the glory days of Key West washes up on other shores.
Several of the stories unfold in Big Sky country, McGuane's signature landscape: a father tries to buy his adult son out of virginity; a convict-turned-cowhand finds refuge at a ranch in ruination; a couple makes a fateful drive through the perilous gorge of the title story before parting ways.
McGuane's people are seekers, beguiled by the land's beauty and myth, compelled by the fantasy of what a locale can offer, forced to reconcile dream and truth.
The stories of Gallatin Canyon are alternately comical, dark, and poignant. Rich in the wit, compassion, and matchless language for which McGuane is celebrated, they are the work of a master.