The Bushwhacked Piano Summary
Thomas McGuane

Everything you need to understand or teach The Bushwhacked Piano by Thomas McGuane.

  • The Bushwhacked Piano Summary & Study Guide

The Bushwhacked Piano Summary

T he Bushwhacked Piano provides a rambunctious and startling introduction to McGuane's universe of social concerns. Its hero, Nicholas Payne, rejects the easy life of corporate sellouts offered him by his parents, a "declining snivelization" where daughters are sold to avoid sticky lawsuits, and the view through the company skylight reveals that one would rather be outside than in. The alternative Payne pursues, as pointed out by several critics of this novel, would seem best identified simply as "fun." Yet, there is a sense of futility in that pursuit even early on, as Payne's game of crotchgrabbing on roller skates ends in the predictable spill, the victory going to "gravity."

Despite such ominous signs, the novel marks the trajectory of Payne's gestures of repudiation, through his following the beloved Ann Fitzgerald across the country, with stops for broncobusting, punching out cowboys, and offending the...

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