The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig

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...his facility with natural, vernacular dialogue is often hypnotizing. The voices are always human and fascinating, if occasionally familiar. The Bartender's Tale is thoroughly engaging...
-NPR

Synopsis


From a great American storyteller, a one-of-a-kind father and his precocious son, rocked by a time of change.


Tom Harry has a streak of frost in his black pompadour and a venerable bar called The Medicine Lodge, the chief watering hole and last refuge of the town of Gros Ventre, in northern Montana. Tom also has a son named Rusty, an “accident between the sheets” whose mother deserted them both years ago.The pair make an odd kind of family, with the bar their true home, but they manage just fine. 


Until the summer of 1960, that is, when Rusty  turns twelve. Change arrives with gale force, in the person of Proxy, a taxi dancer Tom knew back when, and her beatnik daughter, Francine. Is Francine, as Proxy claims, the unsuspected legacy of her and Tom’s past? Without a doubt she is an unsettling gust of the future, upending every certainty in Rusty’s life and generating a mist of passion and pretense that seems to obscure everyone’s vision but his own. As Rusty struggles to decipher the oddities of adult behavior and the mysteries build toward a reckoning, Ivan Doig wonderfully captures how the world becomes bigger and the past becomes more complex in the last moments of childhood.

 

About Ivan Doig

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Ivan Doig was born in Montana in 1939 and grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front, the dramatic landscape that has inspired much of his writing. A recipient of a lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, he is the author of eight previous novels, most recently The Whistling Season, and three works of nonfiction, including This House of Sky. He lives in Seattle.
 
Published August 21, 2012 by Riverhead Books. 434 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Westerns. Fiction
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Reviewed by Carmen Gimenez Smith on Aug 22 2012

...his facility with natural, vernacular dialogue is often hypnotizing. The voices are always human and fascinating, if occasionally familiar. The Bartender's Tale is thoroughly engaging...

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