Dennis McCance has spent an entire semester not telling his family that he has dropped out of law school. Returning home to Montana for what would have been his summer vacation, Dennis reluctantly gives his folks the news: all he really wants to do is play the drums in his country band, Cowboy Angst. In Dennis, the author had created a stunning portrait of ennui, a slacker who can't make up his mind, can't live up to his expectations of himself, and who feels alienated from his life and everything around him. He is terrified (with good reason) of his father, a taciturn bully who wants Dennis to join his firm after law school, and of his older brother, Miles (also with good reason), another taciturn bully who has become a deputy sheriff. Dennis' inner dialogues seethe with anger and sadness, all brilliantly conveyed. Emmons has created a nasty world populated with deeply disturbed and disturbing characters who bring with them the unsettling feel of reality. The misery and random violence are crafted with sterling precision. An amazingly good first novel deserving of a wide readership.
(from the book's back)
All Dennis McCance really wants to do is play the drums in his country band, Cowboy Angst. He has dropped out of law school, defying his bullying father, who wants Dennis to join his law firm. Overcome by uncertainty, anger and sadness, he returns home, only to find himself in a hostile world that mirrors -- and reinforces -- the confusion and turmoil of his innermost thoughts and fears.