Friday, October 14, 2011

Prairie Nocturne

I used to think Ivan Doig was one of my favorite authors, based on his "Dancing at the Rascal Fair", which I loved,  and "English Creek" which I also liked a lot.  "Ride With Me,  Mariah Montana" did not do much for me, but I figured two out of three wasn't bad and not everybody can hit the bullseye every time. But I have just read his novel  "Prairie Nocturne" and I am re-evaluating my views of Ivan Doig.  I  did not like this book at all.

It is a rambling story, alternating between the 1890's and the mid-1920's.  It is set partly in the Two Medicine country of Montana which is the background for his earlier novels, and partly in Harlem with episodes in Scotland and other places.   It involves cattle barons, a WWI hero, the Ku Klux Klan,  an illicit love affair, a bi-racial love affair, a dust storm, an earthquake, rustlers, black cavalrymen, and on and on.  Reading back over that list, it sounds pretty exciting, but I just found it tiresome and skimmed through quite a bit of the book.  Just when you think the story is winding up, the author manages  to throw in another crisis and keep it going.  None of it rang true in my mind.

Of course, this is all very subjective and you may love this book.  It is called "Prairie Nocturne" by Ivan Doig.  Published by Scribner.

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