92 in the Shade

McGuane, Thomas. Ninety-Two in the Shade. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972.

June is fishing month. Go figure. Ninety-Two in the Shade is about a man (Thomas Skelton) who has always wanted to run a guided fishing tour off the Florida Keys. Not the fishing I had pictured for the month of June, but a form of it, I guess. Thomas is new to the business and even newer to competition. He is not without his share of problems. The opening “scene” is Thomas waking up in a hotel and finding four people standing naked in a tub. Right away you know this isn’t your typical River Runs Through It fishing story! Other quirks: violence that does (or doesn’t) happen, relationships that are (or aren’t) good, and the entire book is absent of chapters. I may have come across other books like this but never noticed this chapterlessness before. The only reason why this seems odd is because not having chapters makes it difficult to know where to stop!

I did a little extra research and found out that Ninety-Two in the Shade was made into a movie not long after it was written and while it’s Thomas McGuane’s third work of fiction many critics consider it his best.

I never did get used to McGuane’s “gritty” style of writing, but here are some quotes (and scenes) that caught me: “He walked to Homestead, then right on through town, tripping his brains out in the emptiness of 5 a.m.” (p 4).
A conversation between Skelton and “his girl.” May it confuse you as much as it did me:
Miranda~ “Tom, I had this incredible orgasm.”
Tom~ “Do I have to hear about your organism too?”
M ~ “Just this one. It was like a whole dream of sweet things to eat…Spun sugar, meringue, whipped egg whites…”
T ~ “How about when your chum shot off? Was it a blintz or an omelet?”
M~ “Ask him.”

To say that Ninety-Two in the Shade isn’t without humor would be a lie: “You should never kill somebody if it isn’t funny” ( 34).

BookLust Twist: In both Book Lust and More Book Lust. Book Lust: in the chapter “Montana: In Big Sky Country” (p 156) because Thomas McGuane is from Montana. This, by the way, takes care of a November read because that’s when Montana became a state and Ninety-Two in the Shade was on the November list. More Book Lust: in the chapter “Gone Fishin'” (p 101).

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