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Authors: Thomas Mcguane

Nobody's Angel

BOOK: Nobody's Angel
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T
HOMAS
M
C
G
UANE’S
NOBODY’S ANGEL

“McGuane deals eloquently with grief, lust, jealousy, old age, loyalty, small towns, horse breeding and sex. A remarkable read.”

– PLAYBOY

“There is a precision and understated irony to McGuane’s prose that at times recalls Hemingway, but the best of his writing contains a wild energy and dark humor that is utterly unique.”

– SAN DIEGO UNION

“McGuane may fairly claim to be the best writer about the American West alive today.”

– THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

“This book indicates the growing maturity and power of a unique voice among younger American novelists…. astonishing grace and economy.”

– THE DENVER POST

BOOKS
BY
THOMAS
MCGUANE

The Sporting Club
The Bushwhacked Piano
Ninety-Two in the Shade
Panama
An Outside Chance
Nobody’s Angel

First Vintage Books Edition, November 1986

 

Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1981 by Thomas McGuane

 

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.
Originally published by Random House, Inc., New York, in 1982.

 

A small portion of this work appeared in the Spring 1980 edition of
Triquarterly
, and the May 1979 edition of
Rocky Mountain Magazine.

 

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:

 

Warner Bros. Music: Two lines of lyric from “Jack Daniels If You Please” by David Allen Coe. © 1978 by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

McGuane, Thomas.
Nobody’s angel.
Reprint. Originally published: New York: Random House, 1982.

 

(Vintage contemporaries)

 

I. Title.
PS
3563.
A
3114
N
6   1986 813′.54   86-13885
eISBN: 978-0-307-82201-7

 

Author photograph© 1984 by Paul Dix

 

v3.1

 

This book is for my beloved Laurie,
still there when the storm passed

Contents
 
 
 

“I love hell. I can’t wait to get back.”


MALCOLM
LOWRY

1
 

YOU
WOULD
HAVE
TO
CARE
ABOUT
THE
COUNTRY
.
NOBODY
had been here long enough and the Indians had been very thoroughly kicked out. It would take a shovel to find they’d ever been here. In the grasslands that looked so whorled, so cowlicked from overhead, were the ranches. And some of these ranches were run by men who thought like farmers and who usually had wives twice their size. The others were run by men who thought like cowboys and whose wives, more often than not, were their own size or smaller, sometimes quite tiny. The farmer-operators were good mechanics and packed the protein off the land. The cowboys had maybe a truck and some saddle horses; and statistics indicate that they had an unhealthy dependence on whiskey. They were not necessarily violent nor necessarily uneducated. Their women didn’t talk in the tiny baby voices of the farmer-operator wives nor in the beautician rasp of the town wives. The cowboys might have gotten here last week or just after the Civil War, and they seemed to believe in what they were doing; though they were often very lazy white men.

The town in the middle of this place was called Deadrock, a modest place of ten thousand souls, originally named for an unresolved battle between the Army and the Assiniboin—Deadlock—but renamed Deadrock out of
some sad and irresolute boosterism meant to cure an early-day depression. To many people Deadrock was exactly the right name; and in any case it stuck. It was soon to be a major postcard.

Patrick Fitzpatrick lived on a ranch thirty-one miles outside of town. He was a forth-generation cowboy outsider, an educated man, a whiskey addict and until recently a professional soldier. He was thirty-six years old. He was in good shape; needed some crown work but that was about it.

2
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