John McPhee is a super smooth writer. This is my second book of his, and I’ve got a third lined up on the shelf behind me, a behemoth that looks like it must be 800-pages. Having said that, this book didn’t put the hooks in me. But in all fairness the book is a series of stories about carriers of the uncommon sort. Long haul truckers, people who fly lobsters, river barge captains, etc. I’ve never really enjoyed short stories, so it’s no real surprise this wasn’t my favorite book. I am such a long form guy that I need an entire book to allow a story to build and slowly unfold.
Uncommon Carriers did offer bright spots, like the paddling a river following in the prior paddle strokes of Thoreau. Cool, very cool indeed. And McPhee has a subtle sense of humor I enjoy. Concise, no fat. Just stories. More than observations, more than vignettes but not life relationships.