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Stephen MetcalfHell is other people, goes the old existentialist saw. Words to live by, I say; now if only it weren’t so hellish to be alone. There is, however, a moment before you get to know a person too well, before they’ve become part of the mental furniture, as it were, when unfamiliarity bestows upon them a mystery they may not otherwise deserve. In Gallatin Canyon, his new and often astonishing collection of short stories, Thomas McGuane isolates this moment, and exploits it to its fullest literary potential. McGuane has become our poet-philosopher of the arm’s length, of the prudently aborted intimacy that keeps both isolation and commitment equally at bay.
— The New York Times