We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 >   > 
The Bartender's Tale | [Ivan Doig]

The Bartender's Tale

The Bartender' s Tale stars Tom Harry and his 12-year-old son, Rusty, who live alone and run a bar in a small Montana town in the early 1960s. Their lives are upended when Proxy, a woman from Tom's past, and her beatnik daughter, Francine, breeze into town. 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.
Regular Price:$28.34
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Fiction, 2013

Time and again, Ivan Doig has proven himself to be a treasure of American letters. Critical darlings and New York Times best sellers, his novels target the heart of the human experience and never miss the mark.

The Bartender' s Tale stars Tom Harry and his 12-year-old son, Rusty, who live alone and run a bar in a small Montana town in the early 1960s. Their lives are upended when Proxy, a woman from Tom's past, and her beatnik daughter, Francine, breeze into town. 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.

©2012 Ivan Doig (P)2012 Recorded Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (377 )
5 star
 (178)
4 star
 (124)
3 star
 (57)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
4.2 (337 )
5 star
 (167)
4 star
 (95)
3 star
 (57)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (7)
Story
4.4 (335 )
5 star
 (193)
4 star
 (96)
3 star
 (36)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 03-08-13
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 03-08-13 Member Since 2007

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1469
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    340
    144
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    611
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you love a good story ..."

    this is your book. Ivan Doig has been called "The New Wallace Stegner" for a long time. I love Wallace Stegner, so I take that comparison seriously. There have always been similar threads, but never has the quality of the writing been as close to - or better than Stegner's - than in this book.

    Doig has a way of writing about small events and everyday people that makes even an annual fishing event sound interesting. (Perfect example is a "bit" he wrote about looking for ticks. I never would have guessed there was a story in that. There is when it's in Doig's hands and it's funny.) I also think there's an element of autobiography in this one with Rusty, the young narrator.

    I love the crisp writing, the use of local jargon - as he calls it "lingua America" - and the bits of history woven in for good measure. I love the 87 ways he can allude to sex without ever getting into the nitty gritty of it. But I especially love his characters - so real you can almost reach out and touch them.

    There's a special feeling you get with certain books. The characters come and live at your house while you're listening. Rusty and his dad have been at my house the last few days and I miss them terribly now that they're gone. Very few books measure up to this in terms of pure, good writing. It's such a joy.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 04-07-13
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 04-07-13 Member Since 2010

    MTF

    HELPFUL VOTES
    171
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    135
    109
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    36
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a sweet, old fashioned coming-of-age story"

    Most of this story happens in the summer of 1960. Tom Harry is a bartender in rural Montana, and lives with his son, Rusty. Rusty is twelve years old, and loves his life with his single father, living above their bar. During that summer, twelve year-old Zoe moves to town and befriends Rusty. Twenty-something Delano also moves to town working on an Americana oral history project and connects with Rusty and his father. This is a sweet, slow-moving story, much like life in that small town at that time. I enjoyed being part of that time and seeing the world from Rusty's innocent eyes. The reader was great, with distinctive voices for all the main characters. I really enjoyed listening to this story, and rate the story as a 4+. My only criticisms - it felt a bit similar to other rural coming-of-age stories, and lacked any sharp edges to take it out of that comfortable idyllic world. That said, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. One more comment - the book promo talks about Proxy and his daughter coming into the lives of Tom and Rusty. I was waiting for that to happen, thinking it would be central to this story. It does not occur until the book is 3/4 over. Rusty's relationship to his father and his bar, and his friendship with Zoe are much more central to this book.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adele Columbus, OH, United States 05-15-13
    Adele Columbus, OH, United States 05-15-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Such an enjoyable listen"

    An engaging, well-written small town coming-of-age story taking place in 1960. I just love it when a great story is combined with a great narrator, this is why I love audiobooks.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Old Lyme, CT, United States 03-26-13
    Nancy Old Lyme, CT, United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I just don't want this book to end!"
    Would you listen to The Bartender's Tale again? Why?

    Yes, I would listen again, and again, and again. I'm not sure which I enjoyed more, the narrator or the story, but both entwine to make this one of the nicest stories I've ever listen to. David Aaron Baker nailed the accents and innuendos of each character, and their are a lot of them.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The story is wrapped around the adolescent years of a Midwestern boy in the sixties.. His life is not all that unusual, but unfolds in a way that you don't want to miss a single adventure.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The Bartender's Tale; straight up with a twist!


    Any additional comments?

    Read or listen to this story! I read it based on the publisher's comments: "Time and again, Ivan Doig has proven himself to be a treasure of American letters. Critical darlings and New York Times best sellers, his novels target the heart of the human experience and never miss the mark." Absolutely true!!!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark ONTARIO, CA, United States 05-14-13
    Mark ONTARIO, CA, United States 05-14-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding Narration Brings Everything to Life"

    David Aaron Baker reads this story extremely well. As well written as it is, and how well each character is developed, I doubt I would've been nearly as interested without Baker's telling, his great and distinct voices (with the exception of one ridiculously Mickey Mouse sounding voice), and the heart that lies behind everything he says. Ivan Doig describes each character and surrounding so well it's easy to imagine the town, and the people. The story itself isn't particularly memorable, but I still cared about the characters.

    Overall, worth a listen, just not something that'll stick with you very long after.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth St. Paul, MN United States 06-18-13
    Elizabeth St. Paul, MN United States 06-18-13 Member Since 2007

    Fast approaching retirement as a life long oncology nurse. I love family more than anything. I enjoy reading (audio only), movies, travels, paper crafting, photography, gardening and just being alive.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    254
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    102
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I loved being read to!"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The narrator was perfect. I felt like he was personally telling me a story. I have listened to one other book by Ivan Doig and hope to listen to many more. The story was poignant, quirky and made me giggle out loud many times. Such a "feel good" book.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-19-13
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-19-13 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
    528
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    417
    203
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    75
    44
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I just love Doig's tales!"

    I always know I am in for a great yarn when I listen to an Ivan Doig book. This one centers on the relationship between a father and son living in rural Montana in the 1960's. The narrator did an excellent job of capturing the western feel of the book.

    While I certainly did enjoy this story, it was not as good as my favorite Doig book, "Dancing at the Rascal Fair". This book, in comparison, did not have the compelling characters and emotional impact that "Rascal Faire" did for me. None the less, "The Bartender's Tale" is a good, solid coming of age story and much more.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly-o Seattle 11-02-13
    Molly-o Seattle 11-02-13 Member Since 2007

    English major. Love to read

    HELPFUL VOTES
    318
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    82
    64
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    77
    13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Why do good books have to end?"

    I have read many of Ivan Doig's books because I love Montana and the way Doig tells a story with characters that I feel like I have met sometime in my life. Some of his books are more successful than others; The Bartender's Tale is one of his best. Once again, Doig spins a tale of a simple life with complex flavors and, again, I didn't want this book to stop. David Baker is excellent in catching the sounds and pauses of the characters so well that I was immersed in that life and how the story unfolded. This is a sweet story, a story about a wonderful young man and his Dad, his best girl friend and all the other gems and crazies that one might come across in a bar in Montana. Ivan Doig, thank you for this gift.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 07-30-13
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 07-30-13 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1603
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    233
    182
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    423
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow start, strong finish"

    My first from this author, chosen because of the obvious affection many reviewers have for his work. I have more mixed feelings because I felt his writing was somewhat uneven. On the positive side, his ability to convey sense of place and time is excellent and his characters are well portrayed and real, especially the warm and genuine father/son relationship between Tom and Rusty. Telling a story through the eyes of children is tricky, and that’s where Doig has some hits and misses. The honesty of young Rusty’s fear of abandonment is visceral and moving. But when Rusty and his friend Zoe go into their theatrical shtick, it suddenly hits false and annoying notes. Although their friendship feels organic, too often their dialogues sound forced and phoney.

    The narration doesn’t help on that score, as Baker is only marginal in his voices. A previous reviewer’s reference to a Mickey Mouse voice for the young historical researcher is no exaggeration and that key character unfortunately is excruciating to listen to. Baker has (literally) squeaked out a 3 rating from me on the strength of Tom’s rough no-nonsense voice and Rusty’s natural earnestness (when he’s not trying to growl out Sam Spade dialogue to be cool). The supporting cast voices are fifty-fifty.

    The first ¾’s of the book is a lazily told narrative of the fairly unremarkable events of one summer. As pleasant as this was in acquainting us with the various personalities, I worried that it would just sort of drift into autumn without really sharing anything of note. The final 3 hours finally connects the dots of the groundwork already laid with events and revelations explaining why this was a milestone year for Rusty. By then I was fully familiar and invested in the characters and cared about their fate. What was in danger of a mediocre 3 rating improved to a 4 with a strong finish.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    School Nurse Cindy WV 03-19-13 Member Since 2008

    I've been listening to audio books for years and have been an audible subscriber for ? 10 years maybe? A long time anyway.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Didn't expect this"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Bartender's Tale to be better than the print version?

    I cannot answer this question as I've only listened to it.


    What other book might you compare The Bartender's Tale to and why?

    Hmmm...name any autobiography. The place and timing are a bit different from most I've read however.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I'm actually not finished yet. That is how strongly I feel about this book. I love the father's gruff but loving words of advise. I love Rusty's description of his favorite room in 'the joint'.


    If you could rename The Bartender's Tale, what would you call it?

    Well, so far, it really isn't the Bartender's tale, but Rusty, the son's tale. But, I don't think I'd change it.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm anxious to share this book with my friend who is a native of Montana. I've read several books that take place in Wyoming, but none in Montana, so I'm enjoying learning a little bit about it's description and a little history.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 29 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.