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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 which served so well in his earlier novel English Creek and faithfully represents the struggle for survival on the frontier as he continues the McCaskills' story. Highly recommended. Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Montana's rugged Two Medicine country, memorably evoked in the author's nonfiction memoir This House of Sky and the novel English Creek, once again shapes personalities and destinies in his new work. In 1889, two young Scotsmen, Rob Barclay and Angus McCaskill (grandfather of the narrator of English Creek, arrive in Montana, where for 30 years they struggle to find personal happiness and wrest a living from this demanding land. After losing the woman he loves, Angus marries Rob's sister Adair; their difficult relationship creates conflict, and then a bitter breach, between the two men. But if the thorny individualism of Rob and Angus results in lives that are never easy, they are rich in incident and growth, beautifully described in Doig's strong, savory prose. America's frontier history comes vividly to life in this absorbing saga filled with memorable characters. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (September)
Pamela Guillard San Francisco Chronicle Dazzling...I find myself filled With such high praise for this book that instead of relating paltry bits of it, I want to quote the whole glorious thing....Doig plunges right in and, while giving us a gorgeous story, simultaneously peels that tale back to expose, the nubbins of human despair -- injustice, failure, and that incalculable restlessness exemplifled by the immigrant. Lee K. Abbott The New York Times Book Review Against this masterfully evoked backdrop. Mr. Doig addresses his real subject: love between friends, between the sexes, between the generations....His is a prose as tight as a new thread and as special as handmade candy....Dancing at the Rascal Fair races with real vigor and wit and passion. Henry Kaisor Chicago Sun-Times Doig's prose is so muscular and sculpted, so simple and purposeful that I can think only of Edward Hoagland and Wallace Stegner as Doig's equals. Michael Dorris The Seattle Times Magnificent....Dancing at the Rascal Fair further establishes its author in the front ranks of contemporary American wrriters.