After reading a few really good short story collections, I knew I was in store for a bad one, I’m just sad that it came in the form of Thomas McGuane’s latest book, Crow Fair, something I had been looking forward to. I became familiar with McGuane a few years ago, after I noticed Mr. McAllister is reading one of his books on the plane in Home Alone. After a few writes in reference books that I own, I decided to check him out. First and foremost, I give him credit at least for being a good writer. His prose is strong and almost aggressively original with his weird and strange tales. But it is that same weird sense of place that makes this collection such a dud, with only a few stories sticking out the almost twenty here. He grabs your attention, and when you realize the gimmick that grabbed you is doesn’t have any substance, you get narratives that drag, interchangeable characters and uninteresting dialogue. The two stories that I liked here were right after one another, and one being one of the two stories here that is only five or six pages. “An Old Man Who Like to Fish”, about a man who gives everything in order to help his wife cope with her strengthening dementia has moments of true, if quiet beauty, and a hidden emotional core that I kept ruminating on. “Prairie Girl” about the pragmatic courtship between an ugly gay man and a beautiful woman has a few laughs within it and has a touching ending. But besides those two, which only make up about twenty pages of this 267-page book, are worth checking out. I own a few more McGuane books, and I hope this is first impression doesn’t stick when I pick up something else by him sooner or later.