I was first introduced to Ivan Doig a number of years ago through my book club. Someone suggested we read his autobiography, This House of Sky, a book written by a man who spent his early years herding sheep in Montana. Not, I would have said, a particularly auspicious or interesting beginning to be writing about. I was, however, converted to a dedicated fan and have read, enjoyed and re-read many of his books since.
The Bartender’s Tale, told in the voice of a 12 year old boy, recounts one significant summer in his life in the 1960’s in a small Montana town. The book was a national best seller and is a perfect ‘sitting on the front porch in the summer’ read.
Doig expertly spins out [the] various narrative threads with his usual gift for bringing history alive in the odysseys of marvelously thorny characters… Possibly the best novel yet by one of America’s premier storytellers.” –Kirkus (starred review)