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
My father recently passed away and Tom Harry (the bartender) reminded me so much of my dad with his sayings and philosophy — don't do anything stupid. The narrator is terrific. The writing style makes this a very easy listen. Highly recommend.
The narration of this book was excellent. The story in this book is unfulfilling. There were some interesting aspects to the story in that you get a sense of life in Montana's rugged country, and some other historical peeks, but the personal story that is interwoven with some fairly interesting characters reads flat to me and I just can't recommend this as a good read/listen. I couldn't stop listening because I was hoping for some vim and vigor which never occurred. I also compared notes with a sibling that read the book at the same time that I listened to it and we were both disappointed.
I've been listening to audio books for years and have been an audible subscriber for ? 10 years maybe? A long time anyway.
I cannot answer this question as I've only listened to it.
Hmmm...name any autobiography. The place and timing are a bit different from most I've read however.
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'.
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.
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.
Thank you Ivan Doig for this remarkable tale. I was captivated from the very beginning at this gruff father and observant son relationship. The stories and how the relationship strengthened really kept me listening! Both characters were very good students of human nature. I highly recommend this to all.
Top 2--right next to A Prayer for Own Meany.
The grandfather. The character was very well developed and the reader had the privilege of getting to know him slowly. The character had integrity--in the sense that everything he said or did was consistent, and not simply introduced to advance the plot.
No, but I plan to.
It made me laugh out loud, literally--a little embarrassing because I was listening on the bus.
My husband read the book and we've spent many evenings discussing the characters, plot, setting. The book is so rich and filled with imagery that I know we'll continue our discussions.
A compelling read that encourages personal and social contemplation. Ivan Doig writes with accurate and compelling description, especially of great Montana. The characters don't play all their cards at once: attention must be given and judgement reserved. I would read this again and recommend it to others. In the end I felt like I knew a place and its people as though I had lived there myself.
If you're looking for edge of your seat, action packed suspense, this is not the book for you. If you're looking for a beautifully told story, check out this book. The characters hold their own and each adds to the tale of a man and his son during the 50's in Montana. The ending is perfect - you get just enough information to satisfy any questions yet enough leeway to wonder. The reader does an excellent job. Wow! I loved this book!
A musician and songwriter from the Boston area. I like "Regular Guy" books. No chick Lit, no zombies, or vampires please. No politics.
After a string of negative books I found this one - a tale with characters I could care about, root for, and even worry about. Good people in tough situations, rising above the many problems they encounter, this is a tale of fatherhood, a coming of age story, and a lesson in history. It's also a lesson in life. You have to play the hand that you've been dealt.
You have to play the hand that you've been dealt.
I would recommend this book (audible and written) to any of my friends who are serious readers.
Delano and Zoe.
Delano. He makes a lovely story, really exceptional. He made this story so much richer than it could possibly have been otherwise. I would have been really upset if he'd died in the flood. Zoe is a totally cool kid, who set the stage for Delano.
I'm not sure, but this is not a bartender's tale.
I would recommend this book (audible and written) to any of my friends who are serious readers---not those who want an easy, run-of-the-mill, best seller novel (which can have
their place in the world of entertainment!) I have been a fan of Ivan Doig for many years, but this book is his best example of story telling, and his best example of his ability to turn a phrase, use a word to describe a momentary happening, to use lingua Americana as a part of the story telling, but also as a part of one of the most significant parts of this book. Kudos, Doig! I really want you to top this!
The return to the Two Medicine Country, and the intermingling of well liked characters from some older books with new characters, just as interesting and likable.
Tom, the bartender, doing the best he knew how to raise a son in uncertain times, and instill a sense of right in the boy--His reactions when confronted with a daughter he didn't know about show his innate sense of right and wrong, To say more now would be a spoiler.
Have not yet, but will definitely put him on my list of preferred narrators.
Montana Dan--I knew a number of older men like him when I was much younger, and Doigs characterization of the old semi hermit sheepherder is spot on..
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