Hilary's Reviews > The Bartender's Tale

The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig
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's review
Jul 27, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, fiction, western, history, 2012
Read from July 23 to 27, 2012 — I own a copy

I won this book through the first-reads program.

As my previous reviews have revealed, I did spend a spell living in Montana. While living in Bozeman didn't give me the experience of the mudjackers, nor the experience of living in such a small town as Gros Ventre, it did allow me to head to Butte on occasion. For anyone who has ever been to Butte, or lived in Montana, Zoe's comments about Butte alone make the book worth reading. Seriously, it got a few rather loud laughs from me.

Ivan Doig has penned a novel of grand proportions. Not only has he put a rather unique spin on the dysfunctional family (the protagonist, Rusty, doesn't know who his mother is exactly and is being raised by his bartender father Tom) but he has also lovingly constructed Montana's history - and in it a rather big chunk of US history itself - in the pages of this book.

Ivan Doig has painted a portrait of Montana every bit as Western and nostalgic as Charlie Russell's famous paintings. The book is not without humor, without heartbreak, nor is it without a deepset ache that's near impossible to shake. This is a Western of unique proportions, and one that will stick with you perhaps even more strongly than Lonesome Dove. To say that I loved this book would be an understatement.

One couldn't be more accurate than saying that I sure do miss Montana now.

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07/24/2012 page 21
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