The Bartender's Tale

Doig, Ivan

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Bartender's Tale

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2012.
ISBN: 9781594487354
Characteristics: 387 p. ;,24 cm.


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Jan 08, 2015
  • carolynlindstrom rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Love Ivan Doig, this one was easy to enjoy.

Dec 11, 2013
  • NBLibGirl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Another fabulous story set in a particular time and place in Montana. Love Doig's voice in all his stories. Listened to this one and the audio production was excellent.

Aug 16, 2013

A wonderful period piece. The setting descriptions bring you right in to Montana 1960. Mr. Doig as usual is a wonderful story teller and character inventor. It flows like the Missouri river -- with great falls, twists and turns, and constantly moving in a languid summer in Montana sort of way.

Jun 21, 2013
  • candle rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book and as a result started reading his other books, such as his trilogy about Montana.

Jun 15, 2013
  • peterjreyn rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this slow-moving tale--the way it is told, the fact that it needs no violence or great conflict to keep the reader interested. Mr. Doig is a remarkable storyteller and observer of the human dimension.

Mar 16, 2013
  • JimLoter rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I found it somewhat difficult to get through this book. The pace picked up somewhat about halfway through and the periodic introduction of new characters injected some life back into it at times. It's a very episodic tale with nothing much at stake and no significant conflicts, which rather mirrors the lazy and tranquil rural Montana setting.

It's fundamentally a story about relationships - between a father, the titular bartender Tom, and his 12-year-old son, Rusty; Rusty and a local girl, Zoe; and all of them with some newcomers from the father's past - Proxy (the former taxi dancer) and her (and quite possibly his) daughter, Francine. I enjoyed the early depictions of the father-and-son interactions - how they sized each other up and grew to get to know each other - but the relationship seemed to stop developing once the other characters started showing up. The relationship between Rusty and Zoe was a little more contrived, and Zoe herself tended to be a "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" cliché. Overall, the tone of the writing rang rather false with me - especially the dialog, which was often contrived and overly clever. It bothered me that all the characters spoke alike - Tom and Rusty, sure, but also the newcomers Zoe and Francine ... and even the elderly sheepherder, Canada Dan. All shared a common rhythm, vocabulary, and idiom. Magnifying this was the rather too-convenient appearance of a Library of Congress linguist, Delano, whose project is to capture and record the "authentic" patois of the area's residents - and ends up even more conveniently staying. In that regard, Delano felt more like a mere function of the story than an authentic character - he seemed to exist to justify the fact that everyone spoke in hackneyed platitudes and bromides, and that all this was somehow "historic" and worthy of preservation. This was my first Ivan Doig read, and I'm not so turned off as to not try some others - especially since he's a local boy here in Seattle - but this one was not for me.

Dec 08, 2012
  • sixtyfive rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a wonderful novel with true to life details of northern Montana. The setting of the book is great, the story line is superb, the writing is excellent. It is a great read in every way.


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