by Thomas McGuane
from the May 27, 2024 issue of The New Yorker

It’s always a joy to see a new story by Thomas McGuane! And these days we should absolutely treasure any that show up since who knows how much longer McGuane, at 84 years old, will be publishing stories.

The two sisters were growing old now, but they went on gazing toward Palm Springs from this windblown prairie town as though to Mecca. Each was a widow, Mildred thrice over—her last husband had died after decades of work as a brakeman for the Burlington Northern—and now the sisters, if not on public assistance, were close to it, and, despite their uncertain compatibility, forced to live together in the same house, the house where they had grown up, with a brother whose success had once been the town’s biggest story. Now Cooper lived in Palm Springs, within walking distance of the former home of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and had among his conveyances a helicopter, with a portrait of him twirling a lariat painted on the side, which he used for visits to the chain of furniture stores he owned. Although, for a time, Cooper’s home town cited him when listing its glories or courting a polluter unwelcome elsewhere, he never came back. He didn’t remember his origins fondly. He remembered being pitied and ridiculed, ashamed of his shiftless parents and their binges.

I hope everyone has a good start to a new week! Please let us know how you felt about “Thataway” (or anything else McGuane related) below! I’ll be back on once I’ve read the story.

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