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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

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

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A grand American saga

Robert Ian MacKenzie keeps multiple characters cleanly delineated without any 'bleed-through' of one to another.
Ivan Doig's writing is poetic, tough, spare and lush...all at once.

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Can't wait for the next one!

It took a while to get engaged in this story-with the narrators accent, the slow speech...in fact I had to listen to many of the first parts over. Not entirely due to the book, since I like to listen at bedtime. I came to really enjoy the story, the sense of place and the interconnections of the people, livelihoods, traditions and the natural world around them.

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My favorite story!

Great reader for a grand story! I'm soon on the the second of the trilogy.

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  • William
  • Dell, Montana, USA
  • 04-13-16

Powerful... so powerful

There are no words in the English language that would do justice to how deeply this story affected me. Ivan Doig is a master of story tellers . The Characters he creates stay with you forever. My brother actually operates a cattle ranch in the North Fork country today. One of the most beautiful but unforgiving places on earth. I have spent time there ....so this story all the more meaningful for me. As good as this story is, the narrator with his amazing Scottish brogue, makes it twice as valuable. If I could, I would give this work fifteen stars

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  • Silverfish
  • Fredericksburg, TX, United States
  • 06-10-14

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.

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  • Paula
  • Overland Park, KS USA
  • 09-26-13

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!

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • Longmont, CO, United States
  • 10-20-12

Top of the list

Would you consider the audio edition of Dancing at the Rascal Fair to be better than the print version?

My Wife & I listened to this book together while driving thru the midwest, 1600 miles+ later we wanted to listen to it again. Great story, narrator was superb. I will listen again.

What did you like best about this story?

Montana, no cars almost, that Rob. I can see the landscape and feel the environment as almost they did.

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

All

If you could rename Dancing at the Rascal Fair, what would you call it?

Huh?

Any additional comments?

Last question is idoitic!!

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  • Lynn
  • Temecula, CA, United States
  • 09-14-12

Overall it was wonderful.

What did you love best about Dancing at the Rascal Fair?

Great experience and in new history for me. Times were slow but overall sweet an enjoyable.

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Great story about settlement of Montana

Great story about the risks and rewards of immigration and settlement in Montana. Good character development.

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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 2 people found this review helpful