This rollicking collection—personally selected by the author (in collaboration with his editor Tom Marksbury)—gathers the best of Ed McClanahan’s work, making it a must-have for both long-time fans and newcomers alike. Comprised of fourteen works, I Just Hitched in from the Coast is an admixture of fiction and nonfiction, memoir and imagination. It includes such classics as “Fondelle, or: The Whore with a Heart of Gold,” and the wry essay “The Day the Lampshades Breathed,” chronicling McClanahan’s time in the 1960s.
In “The Essentials of Western Civilization,” McClanahan imagines the affairs of Assistant Professor Harrison B. Eastep, MA, of Arbuckle State in Oregon, and of the gradual erosion of his dedication to academia. Weaving together Vietnam, rock and roll, a lackluster counterculture past, and the Great Plague of London, this is storytelling at its best by a master of the craft.
The foremost stylist of the Yippie generation, McClanahan writes with bemused affection. He parlays his Southern sensibilities and California experiences with a mastery of language, to tantalize his readers with musings that are absurd, whimsical, outrageous, and, in the words of one reviewer, “wickedly sharp.”