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Dancing at the Rascal Fair | [Ivan Doig]

Dancing at the Rascal Fair

Dancing at the Rascal Fair by National Book Award nominee Ivan Doig captures the passion and tenacity of turn-of-the-century immigrants struggling to build new lives amidst Montana’s windswept Rockies. The tale unfolds into a contest of the heart between Anna Ramsay and Angus McCaskill—kept apart by obligations—as they and their stormy kin vie to tame the brutal land.
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Publisher's Summary

Dancing at the Rascal Fair by National Book Award nominee Ivan Doig, captures the passion and tenacity of turn-of-the-century immigrants struggling to build new lives amidst Montana’s windswept Rockies. The tale unfolds into a contest of the heart between Anna Ramsay and Angus McCaskill—kept apart by obligations—as they and their stormy kin vie to tame the brutal land.

©1987 Ivan Doig (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

“Magnificent…Dancing at the Rascal Fair establishes its author in the front ranks of contemporary American writers.” (Seattle Times)

"The settlement of Montana between 1890 and 1919 is recounted through the quiet but compelling life of Angus McCaskill, a young Scotsman who travels with his friend Rob Barclay to Montana's Two Medicine Country to homestead. Doig writes fervently of the voyage from Scotland and the lean first years, as the two share the work and hardship of establishing claims and building up flocks of sheep. He tells of their separate marriages, the severing of their friendship, and the final resolution of their conflict through death. Doig successfully recaptures the violence of the Montana elements and the staunch heritage of the Scottish settlers." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (604 )
5 star
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4.1 (283 )
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (283 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 09-26-13
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 09-26-13 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautifully Written and Read!"

    Loved this book because of its pace and the constant drama in the characters' relationships! It had me from the first pages as Angus described the voyage from Scotland to America and the trip on to Montana. (That's in stark contrast to a few other reviewers who claimed that it was "too slow" or had "no drama.")

    This is actually the second book in Doig's Trilogy, but I was advised to read it first, to be followed by "English Creek" and "Ride With Me Mariah." If this was any example of what awaits me, I will be hugely rewarded.

    The author's descriptions of Montana paint a rich, vast picture for all listeners. Doig's lush words take you alongside Angus and Rob; to the river valleys and high grassy plateaus; into their cramped quarters; nearby as love is born and spurned. You will be rewarded with accounts of how the national parks system and conservation impacted both cattlemen and sheep farmers in Montana in the late 1800's in a very personal manner. You will feel the struggle to build, settle, and tend the land and animals as homesteaders made their way. Moreover, Doig's characters; Angus, Rob, Anna, Adair, Barrick, and others are real people in every sense of the word who struggle with relationships, health, and the things that Mother Nature throws at them.

    If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly that focusing on the settlement of immigrants to the western states, you can't miss with this book!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K.D. Keenan Northern California 01-29-11
    K.D. Keenan Northern California 01-29-11 Member Since 2007

    1emp

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Curiously unsatisfying"

    The book is well-written and held my interest. I'm afraid I got impatient after a while with the protagonist's unrequited/unfulfilled passion, and the ending was rather unsatisfactory. The character got hung up when he was a young man, and never got unstuck, it seems to me. The lack of character arc left the whole story rather flat in the end. However, the depiction of Montana in the days of the settlers was evocative and beautiful, and the book seemed well-researched with regard to how people scraped a living in that harsh environment.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    menary kitchen 08-26-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "hard to put away"
    Where does Dancing at the Rascal Fair rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    ive listend to a lot. it is in the top ten of my list


    Which character – as performed by Robert Ian MacKenzie – was your favorite?

    i liked all performances. he even did an excellent job with the females


    Any additional comments?

    i found this in the discount list under BOGO. surprised to find it there after listening. it is such an outstanding story and very well read

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 01-31-11
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 01-31-11 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An all-time favorite"

    A beautifully written and narrated book that leaves me missing the characters and their lives, wishing there could be more. Doig did a masterful job creating his characters and their truly believable stories. I savored every moment and never felt the pace was too slow. It made me happy, it made me sad, it made me want more. I will definitely read another of Doig's books. Narrator was wonderful, too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Champaign, IL, United States 01-15-11
    Robert Champaign, IL, United States 01-15-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow paced but worth it"

    This slow paced tale of the life two Scottish immigrants homesteading in the Montana mountains from 1890 to 1919 is beautifully written and elegantly read and worth listening to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelley Chatsworth CA 01-08-11
    Shelley Chatsworth CA 01-08-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Really Tried..."

    Many of the reviewers said if you could just get through the first part, you would be riveted. I tried, I really tried. I made it to about chapter nine and then I gave up.

    I love Scottish history especially after reading and listening to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, but this was so slow, so ponderous of a narrator with nothing much happening and lots of interest in sheep, that I just gave up.

    I do understand others' enjoyment of this novel, and usually I also enjoy a slowly unfolding story, but this was really, really slow for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 12-25-10
    Mary 12-25-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable"

    This is not my usual type of book. When I first started listening, I was a bit disappointed by the narrator. Very slow and heavy. The book listens like a memoir of an old man. The presentation adds to the plot but it takes a while to get past the voice and pacing. After a few chapters, my interest was engaged by the detailed descriptions of country (Montana) and historical events. It wasn't until about a third of the way through the book that I began to care about the characters. In the end, the characters and plot were disappointing, but the backdrop of the story is so compelling that it overshadows everything else. I'd recommend this book if you are interested in American history or you like biographies (even though this is fiction).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    peggy 07-21-15
    peggy 07-21-15
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    "Great read"

    Great adventure tale wrapped up in a heartbreaking love story. Really gave you a sense of the vastness of the landscape

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt 06-01-15
    Matt 06-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great writer!"

    I've read most of Doig's work and I find them all to be of the highest quality I have read, this trilogy is enjoyable & informative of the formation of Montana. A place I greatly enjoy myself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Silverfish Fredericksburg, TX, United States 06-10-14
    Silverfish Fredericksburg, TX, United States 06-10-14 Member Since 2012

    Book lover, now learning to listen!

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    "Starts well, then disappoints"
    Any additional comments?

    About halfway through the book, maybe a tad more, I decided to quit. The opening of Rascal Fair is wonderful, the writing very good, the descriptions of the journey across the Atlantic first-rate, and then descriptions of the two friends' the discovery and embrace of late 19th century Montana is lovely. As others have suggested in reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, the slow but meaty plot turns into spun sugar, a "Harlequin romance." Somewhere in Doig there's a serious writer. Not in this book.The narration is very good. A relative newcomer to Audible, I've found that the narration can make or break a book but, though Robert Ian McKenzie did a nice job, Rascal Fair is a heavy load.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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