Ivan Doig has been hailed by the New York Times as “dean of Western American letters.” In Ride with Me, Mariah Montana, widower Jick McCaskill, his daughter Mariah, and Mariah’s ex-husband Riley take a road trip back and forth across Montana. As Jick recounts his memories of the area, Riley and Mariah fall in and out of love—and Jick unexpectedly discovers a new partner.
©1990 Ivan Doig (P)2011 Recorded Books
"[Doig] displays a masterful skill in depicting the American West which few writers match." (Publishers Weekly)
Ivan Doig has become one of my favorite authors. I've listened to four of his novels, including this trilogy. He is a wordsmith, able to turn a phrase that makes you want to pause the story and savor the phrase. He is also a first-rate story-teller who spins a great yarn while developing full-bodied characters set in an accurate historical context.
This story made me laugh out loud often. But it was also a thoughtful reflection on relationships--family, neighbors, coworkers--and and how our individual stories are part of a much larger web. It was also a hymn of love to Montana. As a Northwesterner who loves Montana (I hike and motorcycle there), it was a kick to hear Jick's descriptions of places I've been and loved.
In the third part of this outstanding trilogy, Doig masterfully answers dangling questions from the previous books, and throws plenty of curves to keep you guessing. I was sad when the book ended; my consolation was that I can listen to all three again!
Scott Sowers narration is superb as well. Spot on!
Do yourself a favor--listen to the whole series! It's an amazing 100-year saga of the McCaskill family in the Two Country of Montana!
Say something about yourself!
This is the third and final book of Doig's Montana Trilogy. His first, Dancing at the Rascal Fair, easily earned a five star rating. His second, English Creek, was not quite as strong, but was still very interesting. My father was not only born in Montana, but had a career in forestry as a smokejumper so I enjoyed much of the story as we are introduced to Jick McCaskill and his struggles as he comes with age. There are several scenes which are laugh out loud funny--particularly during haying. In both books, the characters were interesting. Doig is a master of setting, and it is easy to visualize the Two Medicine Country. This final book, however, feels forced--as if Doig was simply trying to fulfill a publisher's commitment to complete a trilogy.
Probably the most disappointing part of the book to me were the character changes in this much older Jick McCaskill. Doig portrays him as an irascible senior who constantly uses the phrase "God Damn" as an adjective. It quickly became tiresome. Jick could easily have been a person who has aged more gracefully, softened by years of hard work and family love. Instead, he seems to perpetually have a burr under his saddle. As the narrator of the story, his voice is unceasingly complaining. In addition, the entire situation of his daughter and her ex-husband traveling with him as the chauffeur through out Montana in a "bago" seemed more contrived than believable.
I was glad that the same narrator was used in both English Creek and Ride With Me, as it provided a nice continuity with Jick.
If you are interested in learning about Montana, you may still be interested in this book. Although the situations seemed contrived, Doig is still a master writer when it comes to describing this state. He has the ability to paint with his words and the scenery becomes almost tangible as it is described.
I liked the development of the story and characters. Ivan Doig tells a great story. This is the first of his books I've read that needs a "foul language" alert. Lots and lots of swearing, particularly the F word. I didn't notice this in the other books by Doig.
The ending is a great way to wrap this book up.
The narration was good. I enjoy listening to Mr. Sowers voice and he makes the story work as it is written.
No follow-up if we have to hear more about the grumpy character in this one. The book pretty much concludes without leaving much chance of a sequel that would take place in the same place.
I have read & listened to "Ride with Me..." and though I enjoyed both experiences, Scott Sower's voice gave the story a life not found in the printed version.
"English Creek", the predecessor to "Ride with Me, Mariah Montana", was one of those rare novels that spoke to me-I found I identified with Jick. I think Ivan Doig did a great job of portraying Jick in his later years, tying him to the young Jick in "English Creek" and showing how life had shaped him.
He was Jick in my mind!
Jick of course. I would like to hear more about his younger years and the wonderful characters that shaped "English Creek"...Dode Withrow, Canada Dan, Toussaint Rennie, and the tragic Stanley.
Listen to all three books. If nothing else, "English Creek".. and "the Bartenders Tale"
I have enjoyed the other Ivan Doig books I have listened to, but this on was not worth the time. Nothing about the story lived up to my expectations based on the previous books. It was tedious and pointless. Skip this one. It is not worth the time.
Ivan Doig is such a good writer that this non-plot story *still* keeps you interested in all the unusual things that happen on the road: the buffalo-Winnebago tussle, the baloney express gang, and the surprise ending. I loved Doig's description of bison.
However, because there isn't much of a plot to this one, it isn't as stellar as Dancing at the Rascal Fair. So, if you haven't read that one, go do it!
Getting into the mind of Jick MacCaskill.
I don't know that I've ever heard Scott Sower's other work. He did a great job on this!
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