the next good book

The Bartender’s Tale

By Ivan Doig


414 pages

What’s it about? Rusty is twelve years old in the summer of 1960.   He lives in a small town in Montana with his father Tom.   Tom owns, operates, and tends bar at the best joint in this small western town. What did it make me think about? This novel is really a coming of age story.  It touches on family, forgiveness, and the complexities we face as our childhoods come to an end. Should I read it? This was a really good book, but it moves at a slower pace.  Somehow that feels right in this novel.   The pacing matches the story line and the book feels like a leisurely trip back in time.  I finished the book yesterday and have been surprised how much I am already missing the characters.  No picking the book up today to see what is going on in the bar! Quote- “Yet, as peculiar a pair as we made, the bachelor saloonkeeper with a streak of frost in his black pompadour and the inquisitive boy who had been an accident between the sheets, in the end I would not have traded my involuntary parent for a more standard model.  It is said that it takes a good storyteller to turn ears into eyes, but luckily life itself sometimes performs that trick on us.  In what became our story together, when life took me by the ears, what a fortunate gamble it was that my father included me in his calling.  Otherwise, I’d have missed out on the best seat in the house- the joint, rather- when history came hunting for him. I turned twelve that year of everything, 1960. But as my father would have said, it took some real getting there first.”

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