Nobody's Angel (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
“I love hell. I can’t wait to get back.” These boastfully self-destructive words of Malcolm Lowry serve as epigraph to Thomas McGuane’s sixth novel, Nobody’s Angel. They offer an effectively concise reading of the book, another of McGuane’s quirky, often funny, but finally harrowing journeys into the pit. McGuane has chronicled with rich wit but restrained compassion the compelling need of his characters to embrace their own damnation in such books as his first novel, The Sporting Club (1969), Ninety-Two in the Shade (1973), and Panama (1978). Patrick Fitzpatrick, the resigned, self-betrayed protagonist of Nobody’s Angel, follows the well-worn downward path of McGuane’s earlier heroes, each of whom searches out his destruction in a perverse effort to define his existence. Although Patrick Fitzpatrick walks clear-eyed into his own hell, McGuane recounts his steps with something approaching a sympathy and regret not easily found in his earlier works.
Patrick Fitzpatrick is a Marlboro man of sorrows who suffers from the stress of “the jaggedness-of-the-everyday,” or, as he puts it, the “sadness-for-no-reason.” He fits in his rawboned fashion in the tradition of the Romantic, Existentialist hero: the social outsider, the insistent individualist, the unconfessed believer in possibilities...
(The entire section is 2117 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Library Journal. CVII, February 1, 1982, p. 273.
Nation. CCXXXIV, March 20, 1982, p. 341.
National Review. XXXIV, June 11, 1982, p. 702.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVII, March 7, 1982, p. 9.
The New Yorker. LVIII, March 22, 1982, p. 165.
Newsweek. XCIX, January 29, 1982, p. 72.
Saturday Review. IX, March, 1982, p. 62.
Time. CXIX, April 26, 1982, p. 85.
(The entire section is 42 words.)