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New Yorker Fiction Review #116: "The Driver" by Thomas McGuane

Issue: Sept. 28, 2015

Story: "The Driver" by Thomas McGuane

Rating: $/Meh

Review: I guess you'd call this a story because there are characters and something happens, but...to me this is just McGuane grudgingly filling out his contractual requirement of four NYer stories per year or whatever.

I don't think I'm going out on a limb here in saying this is not a "good" story. In fact, it's hardly worth reading or even reading a review about...so if you stop now, no hard feelings (but there wouldn't be any hard feelings anyway, cause I'd never know. In fact, I'd be happy if you even read this far in the first place).

But even McGuane, as great of a writer as he is, can't write a completely "bad" story. There are two interesting characters in this story, the boy's mom and the driver who picks him up and tries to take him home before getting stopped by the police and arrested. Wrong place, wrong time, I suppose.

What's my problem with this story? It's vastly under-cooked and just seems a hodge-podge of some characters McGuane has had in his mind for decades -- the quirky, misbehaving, complex little kid -- and some that probably just spilled out of his pen and his imagination, like the chattering mother who, unwittingly and very likely donated the poor boy his attention deficit problems. This story's like a bowl of raw and badly mixed ingredients being passed off as a batch of cookies.

Oh well...they can't all be classics, can they?

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