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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 (551 )
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4.3 (238 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dana C. Nicolay Birmingham, MI United States 05-28-10
    Dana C. Nicolay Birmingham, MI United States 05-28-10 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
    ratings
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    176
    8
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    "New Favorite"

    The books starts off slow. However you will be richly rewarded with a powerful and passionate story if you stay with it. This book entices the reader with paragraph after paragraph of poetic prose. Then, the author grabs your attention with a spellbinding story that has all of the elements that make you want to begin reading and never stop. His beloved Montana comes to life such that you can hear the constant wind, feel the biting cold, taste the dust of the dry years, smell the sheep pens at shearing time, and see the vast expanses of prarie fading into the impossibly rugged mountains. This book grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

    32 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 12-14-10
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 12-14-10 Member Since 2007

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1391
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    338
    142
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    597
    15
    Overall
    "Don't judge this book by the first few hours"

    I started listening to this book and thought my iPod was set on "slower." With gigantic spaces between words and the narration barely creeping along, I nearly chucked it. But, I kept listening and by hour 3 was so engaged in the story, I couldn't put it down. I ended up loving the pace of the slower narration and how it contributed to the characters. It's an absolutely wonderful book. Don't give up on it. You'll be richly rewarded with a story and some vivid characters who will stay with you.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janis Aiken, SC, United States 09-01-10
    Janis Aiken, SC, United States 09-01-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What an Enchanting Story!"

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book written in the voice of a young Scottish immigrant who grows throughout this book in the realities of manhood in a rugged land. A coworker who was born and raised as the son of a Montana sheep herding family originally from Scotland said this book portrayed the true reality of that life style. This writer is among his favorites. The poetic prose of the writer coupled with his touching story makes this book one of my favorites also.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kris Helena, MT, United States 10-21-10
    Kris Helena, MT, United States 10-21-10 Member Since 2010

    Kris Delaney

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gorgeous, Rich and Vast"

    Gorgeous in its visuals, rich in its characters, and vast in its depiction of Montana's history. Doig's writing is so unique and wise, I was swept up and never let down, didn't want to be put down, until the sumptuous end. I'll be listening to this again, guaranteed.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Prince Winthrop, WA USA 12-14-10
    Diana Prince Winthrop, WA USA 12-14-10 Listener Since 2010

    Diana

    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
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    14
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    "I Loved This Book"

    This is a low-key, kind of slow-moving (in a good way) book, but it is a well-written, engaging story of human life. Despite its length, I was sorry when it was over. My only complaint was that I found the sort of Gone-With-The-Wind ongoing "love" story a bit overblown but that is a very minor complaint. This was a very good listen and I highly recommend it.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire east bentleigh, Australia 12-27-10
    Claire east bentleigh, Australia 12-27-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
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    "SLEEPING AT THE RASCAL FAIR"

    I kept with this book for a long time but nothing happened. Apart from wanting to know who he ended up marrying it was as slow as a montana winter. After about 10 hours I just couldnt take one more minute of it and turned it off. The descriptions of the place are lovely but that just couldnt cut it.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 11-28-10
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 11-28-10 Member Since 2004

    I enjoy mysteries, NOT thrillers, contemporary fiction, especially about diverse cultures, and sometimes history, if it doesn't involve too many dates. I often listen to a book multiple times, discovering unnoticed details in the retelling.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "my favorite of this year!"

    I love the narration of "MacRobert" here! My first experience with Ivan Doig's work. Will put the rest of his work into my "Wish List." This is a wealth of Scottish culture and history, as well as a wonderful view into the early settling of Montana. I'll listen to this multiple times, just to enjoy every detail to the fullest.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Colorado Springs, CO, United States 02-25-11
    Lisa Colorado Springs, CO, United States 02-25-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    77
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    "Thoroughly Enjoyable"

    Many reviews have complained that this book is slow. I think it just depends on the reader's preferences. If you are the type of person that enjoys historical fiction, picturesque landscapes, and deep character development, then I'm confident you will love this book. Robert Ian MacKenzie does a phenomenal job of bringing these Scottish immigrants to life in beautiful dialect. The story flows well, and the characters are brought to life in an endearing way. I thought it was thoroughly enjoyable and was not disappointed in the least - was actually sorry it ended. If, however, you like a fast-paced thriller, perhaps this is not the book for you. If you have any personal connection to Montana, the early pioneering days in the Northwest, or the plight of Scottish immigrants, you will find the book fascinating. I highly recommend it!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Austin Texas 12-22-10
    Helen Austin Texas 12-22-10 Member Since 2007

    Reading Raven

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautifully written book!"

    Truly a beautifully written book that will make the simpliest things become lavishly described events. The scenery is vivid and the characters are alive. The story encompasses the emigration of two late teenage Scots to Montana, their journey, their homesteading, their friendship through decades and their families. Rob and Angus are great characters. You will be planted with these folks in the hills of the Rockies near Two Medicine and in Scot Heaven. Clearly sacrifices are made for duty and for love...and lots of stubborn temperaments. The narration is done flawlessly. This is a graceful book filled with history and eloquence. It is also a story that comes full circle which I appreciated.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia COLUMBUS, OH, United States 12-11-10
    Julia COLUMBUS, OH, United States 12-11-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my cup of tea."

    There wasn't enough drama in this one for me. I kept waiting for something (anything!) to happen. I would suggest listening to a sample before buying.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 37 results PREVIOUS124NEXT
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  • Sarah
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    4/19/10
    Overall
    "Scots Whahey"

    Another hidden gem here, not having had any interest in history, audible has further boosted my learning with this tale of two fellow Scots moving to Montana.

    We learn of their heartbreaking battles with the climate and the demands of mother nature on body and mind. Your dreamy picture of a sunny Montana is harshly sullied by the bleak depictions of the winters. A real eyeopener, you'll love it and its characters.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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