Aesthetic ranking is a fool’s gambit or vacuous journalism. Having said that I merely want to point out that the fraternity of writers and artists—Tom McGuane, Jim Harrison, Richard Brautigan, Jimmy Buffet and Hunter Thompson— that coalesced around Key West in the 70′s is at least as significant as America’s Bloomsbury, The Lost Generation and the Beats. Now comes Boston University journalism mentor William Mckeen’s Mile Marker Zero The Moveable Feast of Key West(Crown) which piles on a readable plethora of anecdotes and quotes accounting for the much publicized shenanigans of the above mentioned characters, while giving a history of the US’s southernmost land’s end.
Both Harrison and McGuane have continued to provide American literature with wonderful stories (McGuane also has a best selling fishing book. In addition to his singular fiction, Harrison has also written an endearing memoir, Off to The Side, and a notable collection of food columns he had written for Esquire, anthologized in The Raw and Cooked.
Tom Bissell who hails from the Jim Harrison’s neighborhood in Michigan reprises an enlightening profile he wrote for Outside magazine in his recent anthology Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation( McSweeney’s)
Harrison and McGuane, long time friends and fishing buddies, have participated in a correspondence that may well be (for obvious reasons) the last great American literary letters.
Something to look forward to.
Currently reading Infinity: The Story of a Moment by Gabriel Josipovici (Carcanet)