Skip to main content

About the Book

About the Book

The Cadence of Grass

This is the story of the Whitelaws, a family whose values are as far-flung as the territory they helped settle, and whose most recent generations have pioneered the landscape of dysfunction. The patriarch, Sunny Jim, exerts his perverse control even posthumously by means of a last will and testament that binds the family fortune (a bottling franchise) to a marriage that ought, by general assent, to be rent asunder. Sunny Jim's daughter Evelyn has filed for divorce from her husband Paul Crusoe, who has won his father-in-law's devotion through a stunning lie. Having just served a prison term for manslaughter, Paul emerges to claim his position as the new CEO of the bottling plant, and by the terms of Sunny Jim's will, his surviving family members will inherit their portions of the estate only if Evelyn agrees to stay married to Paul.

While her mother and sister court this twisted inheritance scheme and try to make Evelyn feel guilty enough to give in, Evelyn has other ideas. She spends most of her time on the family ranch taking care of the cattle and horses. Her own yearnings point toward a way of life once habitual on the western plains but now embodied only by Bill Champion, the family's ranch foreman and Evelyn's one true compass.

A novel charged with the relentless and often contradictory claims of blood, money, history, and love, The Cadence of Grass is at once a masterpiece of savage comedy and an elegy for what has been lost.

The Cadence of Grass
by Thomas McGuane

  • Publication Date: May 13, 2003
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0679767452
  • ISBN-13: 9780679767459