Nothing But Blue Skies Nothing but Blue Skies

Thomas McGuane

Nothing but Blue Skies

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Frank Copenhaver is a rich man’s son forced to abandon the privileged life-style for one of enterprise and labor when his father concludes that he isn’t worth a plugged nickel. Much to everyone’s surprise, the ensuing years provide convincing proof that the acorn does not fall far from the tree. The result is a career characterized by commercial innovation, financial chutzpah, and a careful attention to the cowboy philosophy of never leaving a trail for your enemies to follow. As NOTHING BUT BLUE SKIES opens, Frank is at the point where the financial rewards are many and the personal satisfactions numerous.

But, those who race toward the stars on a pillar of fire are occasionally sent plummeting into the depths in a shower of dung, and Frank Copenhaver is no exception. Suddenly, inexplicably, his wife of many years announces the marriage is over and she’s no longer interested in salvaging anything from the wreckage. Gracie Copenhaver’s departure raises the question in the minds of many as to whether the emperor was in fact without clothes—a diagnosis which appears to be confirmed when Frank begins to match his marital failure with a series of professional misjudgments.

Soon, Frank is financially vulnerable, and his efforts to recover only serve to grease the skids of his economic slide to disaster. All is not lost, however, although it definitely appears so for most of this rather manic work. NOTHING BUT BLUE SKIES combines the outstanding qualities of Larry McMurtry and Anne Tyler in a manner which is nevertheless unique.

Sources for Further Study

Booklist. LXXXVIII, August, 1992, p. 1973.

Chicago Tribune. September 13, 1992, XIV, p. 3.

The Christian Science Monitor. October 7, 1992, p. 14.

Kirkus Reviews. LX, July 15, 1992, p. 874.

Los Angeles Times Book Review. October 11, 1992, p. 1.

The New York Review of Books. XXXIX, December 3, 1992, p. 14.

The New York Times Book Review. XCVII, September 13, 1992, p. 7.

Publishers Weekly. CCXXXIX, July 13, 1992, p. 47.

Time. CXL, November 2, 1992, p. 72.

The Washington Post Book World. XXII, September 13, 1992, p. 3.