Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig

The Bartender's TaleThe Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ivan Doig tells a grand story, and this one made me yearn for Western small town life (normally unappealing to me).  The Bartender's Tale is about a legendary bartender named Tom Harry and his son Rusty.  Rusty's mom abandoned the two of them when Rusty was an infant, and Tom's sister raised Rusty for the first six years.  Then one day, unannounced, Tom retrieved Rusty and took him north to Montana where they live a fabulous bachelor life and run the Medicine Lodge.

The days pass between Tom's mysterious trips, Rusty's saloon eavesdropping and small town gossip.  The summer Rusty is twelve things change drastically, and Rusty grows up even faster.

This story is about family, commitment, responsibility and living with past decisions.  When Tom's history comes back to haunt him, he handles things with his signature stoicism.  "The first rule is," Tom says, "playing with the hand you're dealt."

Give yourself a break: read this grand story, told in grand Ivan Doig fashion.

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