Critical Context

Ninety-two in the Shade followed closely upon the heels of The Sporting Club (1968) and The Bushwhacked Piano (1971); the three books were published within a period of four years, and interest in McGuane became widespread. Some critics thought that The Bushwhacked Piano was a better novel, but all three books seemed to have a similar energy, excitement, and dense style. Probably some of the critical naysayers were right about Ninety-two in the Shade—it was, indeed, a rather commercial performance. (McGuane himself directed a film version of the novel in 1975.) By 1984, McGuane had published his seventh book, Something to Be Desired, and while its commercial success was not great, it was informed by a maturity of vision not to be found in the virtuoso style of his early novels.