The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig

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Can't cook but doesn't bite." So begins the newspaper ad offering the services of an "A-1 housekeeper, sound morals, exceptional disposition" that draws the hungry attention of widower Oliver Milliron in the fall of 1909. And so begins the unforgettable season that deposits the noncooking, nonbiting, ever-whistling Rose Llewellyn and her font-of-knowledge brother, Morris Morgan, in Marias Coulee along with a stampede of homesteaders drawn by the promise of the Big Ditch-a gargantuan irrigation project intended to make the Montana prairie bloom. When the schoolmarm runs off with an itinerant preacher, Morris is pressed into service, setting the stage for the "several kinds of education"-none of them of the textbook variety-Morris and Rose will bring to Oliver, his three sons, and the rambunctious students in the region's one-room schoolhouse. A paean to a vanished way of life and the eccentric individuals and idiosyncratic institutions that made it fertile, The Whistling Season is Ivan Doig at his evocative best.

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 February 1, 2007 by Mariner Books. 345 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Whistling Season

Kirkus Reviews

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Oliver has fallen for Rose and they are set to marry when Paul discovers that Rose and Morrie are on the run from a scandal.

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The New York Times

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It is, like most of his books, set in rural Montana, and though the author uses a somewhat more recent historical platform — the narrator, Paul Milliron, is looking back from the vantage of 1957 — the main story unfolds over a few seasons in 1909, when Paul was a boy.

Jul 02 2006 | Read Full Review of The Whistling Season

Publishers Weekly

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Doig's strengths in this novel are character and language—the latter manifesting itself at a level of old-fashioned high-octane grandeur not seen previously in Doig's novels, and few others': the sheer joy of word choices, phrases, sentences, situations, and character bubbling up and out, as fecu...

Mar 20 2006 | Read Full Review of The Whistling Season

Book Reporter

The closeness leads to romance between Rose and Paul's father, and Paul figures out the puzzle of why Rose and Morris left the midwest to journey to Montana.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Whistling Season

USA Today

Two writers, Ivan Doig and Norman Maclean, inspired me years ago to visit Montana, which has lots of room for good writing.I've lived mostly on the East Coast and discovered another world in their books.Doig's This House of Sky (1978) and Maclean's A River Runs Through It (1976) are about coming ...

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Gather Books

Here's an example, where he describes the one room schoolhouse: So, there in the dwindling twilight of the afternoon I tried to take in that world between the manageable horizons...Out beyond the play area, there were round rims of shadow on the patch of prairie where the horses we rode to school...

Dec 29 2007 | Read Full Review of The Whistling Season

Historical Novel Society

Paul narrates this beguiling tale of how Rose, the “A-1” housekeeper of the advertisement, and Morrie, her brother who arrives unexpectedly with Rose, fit into the life of the community, and their family.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Camp Seattle Post-Intelligencer 4 of 5 Stars "This enticing Montana-set story represents a welcome return for the legions of Doig fans, but also a most suitable introduction for those readers tardy in their discovery of this writer’s considerable charms and talents.

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of The Whistling Season

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