Who’s Got the Moxie?

A. Craig Copetas

  • The Mexican Tree Duck by James Crumley
    Picador, 247 pp, £15.99, May 1994, ISBN 0 330 32451 9
  • One to Count Cadence by James Crumley
    Picador, 338 pp, £5.99, May 1994, ISBN 0 330 32450 0

The North Country is the burial ground for America’s myths. So maybe it’s not surprising that there are more good writers per square mile in Montana and Idaho than anywhere else in the States. The irony is that the writers themselves are often obscured by the area’s remoteness from the rest of the country. Montana and Idaho took off in the late Sixties, when real estate was cheap, plentiful and luring the likes of Tom McGuane, Tim Cahill, Jeff Bridges, Peter Fonda and the late Seymor Lawrence. Frontier towns like Livingston and Boulder Creek are today about as close as you can get to a nursing home for Sixties’ veterans and survivors of the more recent Hollywood filmscript wars – complete with a beanery in nearby Bozeman, owned and operated by the actress Glenn Close. Yet the North Country has never tried to be fashionable. If Aspen is all plastic surgery and cholesterol-free restaurants, the North Country is veterinarians and iron skillets.

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