Nothing but Blue Skies

by Thomas McGuane. Houghton Miffin/Seymour Lawrence, $21.95. Frank Copenhaver, Mr. McGuane’s protagonist, is a successful businessman in a small Montana city until his wife abruptly leaves him. It is never clear why she bolts, but it is possibly out of middle-age rebellion, which is what, in another form, immediately strikes the deserted husband. He loses interest and his touch in financial matters, insults the wrong people, blunders into ludicrous sexual affairs, lands in jail for slapstick reasons, and inadvertently rides a hog through a pig show. He hashes up everything except fishing, and even his favorite, beautifully described, trout stream gets dammed up on him. The accumulating disasters are dourly comic and cannily satirical. The author’s underlying theme is the unimportance of money by comparison with love, an old point that he makes with novel means and without sentimental sugar.