By Thomas McGuane

ISBN-10: 1466858303

ISBN-13: 9781466858305

Declining megastar Chet Pomeroy, makes an attempt to win again Catherine, the lady whom he married (or might be didn't marry) in Panama a number of years ahead of.

His quest for Catherine takes him to Key West, Florida, a centre of commercialism and corruption the place nightmares stalk his waking hours.

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In the backwoods” betrays a belief in the improving nature of Canada. Through their exposure to the new country the settlers ultimately evolve into wiser and braver beings. In these evolutionary terms, however, the genteel Macdonalds prove themselves to be better fit for survival in Canada than their servant girl. The fact that Harry makes much of Betsy’s status as a “Cockney,” demonstrates that he and his family are still keenly aware of, and keen to maintain, the social divisions and practices familiar in England at the time.

And while he developed no affection for them, he none the less grew honestly to respect them. He speedily learned that Perrault and Francois were fair men, calm and impartial in administering justice, and too wise in the way of dogs to be fooled by dogs. (London 1903: 37) The View from Afar • 31 These “swarthy” Canadians demonstrate fairness and justice in their handling of the dogs, and as a result, Buck gains some respect for them: “That was fair of Francoise, he decided, and the half-breed began to rise in Buck’s estimation” (38).

For example, the class distinctions and racial stereotyping of the Welsh and Irish, which were a part of English life in the nineteenth century, are transported along with this family to Canada. This is largely evident through the character of the Macdonalds’ servant Betsy, who has accompanied the family to Canada and who furnishes much of the story’s humour. Betsy’s Cockney accent and position as a servant reveal her status as a member of the working class. While Betsy’s physicality equips her with the strength required for the chores of settler life, she appears less able than her employers to cope either emotionally or intellectually with the challenges of a new environment.

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Panama by Thomas McGuane

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