The Bartender's Tale

From a great American storyteller, a one of a kind father and his precocious son, rocked by a time of change Tom Harry has a streak of frost in his black pompadour and a venerable bar called The Medicine Lodge, the chief watering hole and last refuge of the town of Gros Ventre, in northern Montana Tom also has a son named Rusty, an accident between the sheets whose moFrom a great American storyteller, a one of a kind father and his precocious son, rocked by a time of change Tom Harry has a streak of frost in his black pompadour and a venerable bar called The Medicine Lodge, the chief watering hole and last refuge of the town of Gros Ventre, in northern Montana Tom also has a son named Rusty, an accident between the sheets whose mother deserted them both years ago.The pair make an odd kind of family, with the bar their true home, but they manage just fine Until the summer of 1960, that is, when Rusty turns twelve Change arrives with gale force, in the person of Proxy, a taxi dancer Tom knew back when, and her beatnik daughter, Francine Is Francine, as Proxy claims, the unsuspected legacy of her and Tom s past Without a doubt she is an unsettling gust of the future, upending every certainty in Rusty s life and generating a mist of passion and pretense that seems to obscure everyone s vision but his own As Rusty struggles to decipher the oddities of adult behavior and the mysteries build toward a reckoning, Ivan Doig wonderfully captures how the world becomes bigger and the past becomes complex in the last moments of childhood.
The Bartender s Tale From a great American storyteller a one of a kind father and his precocious son rocked by a time of change Tom Harry has a streak of frost in his black pompadour and a venerable bar called The Medic

  • Title: The Bartender's Tale
  • Author: Ivan Doig
  • ISBN: 9781594487354
  • Page: 166
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “The Bartender's Tale”

    1. No one can turn the mundane to magic better than Ivan Doig, and the proof is in THE BARTENDER'S TALE. This is the fourth Doig novel I've read, and it may just be my favorite. Pull up a barstool, order a Select beer, and prepare to be enchanted. Russell "Rusty" Harry is our narrator, an old man who takes us back to the summer of 1960 in the fictional town of Gros Ventre, Montana. Rusty was twelve that summer, and he and his father Tom had been living together in splendid bachelorhood for six year [...]

    2. There was a time when I bought every Ivan Doig book published. "Dancing at Rascal Fair" is still on my list of all-time-best reads.Then came "Bucking the Sun". I grew up 20 miles from Ft. Peck Dam. Went to high school with kids bussed in from Ft. Peck. I knew about the “dam towns” like Wheeler where the legendry Blue Eagle Tavern was run by bartender Tom Harry. My father arrived there in 1934 and sold water to businessmen and dam workers and their families alike. Something just felt “off [...]

    3. I loved the Western setting. Montana seems to be a place that has somehow managed to retain a lot of the 1880’s and 1890’s feel. Doig conveys this in his 1955 through 1960’s time frame. The story is about a young boy who’s been abandoned by his mother as an infant and deposited with his paternal aunt in Arizona until he turns six. That’s when his pop, the erstwhile bartender of this story, swoops down and takes him home to MT. They both have some adjusting to do but after some initial [...]

    4. IMO It took 250 pages for this book to finally get its footing. Considering there's only 385 pages in this book, that just doesn't cut it. The story itself had potential - a bartender and his son living in Montana in early 1960, a year that would change many things for them. The son, Rusty, is likeable enough and Doig does a great job capturing the speech and essense of a 12 year old during this time period. His father Tom is smart but set in his ways until he is inevitably pushed to look at thi [...]

    5. I really like Ivan Doig's writing which I think of as both sophisticated and down to earth, if that's possible. For example, in describing the vocabulary of a friendship central to The Bartender's Tale, Doig writes, "Inevitably added to [what we heard in the bar] was every particle of radio serial and comic strip and movie dialogue that was silly enough to remember, piled up and waiting in two active twelve-year-old brains like ingredients filling a flour sifter. All it took for that powder of i [...]

    6. From the book jacket: Tom Harry has a venerable bar called the Medicine Lodge, the chief watering hole and last refuge of the town of Gros Ventre, in northern Montana. Tom also has a son named Rusty, whose mother deserted them both years ago. The pair make an odd kind of family, with the bar their true home, but they manage just fine. Until the summer of 1960, that is, when Rusty turns twelve. Change arrives with gale force, in the person of Proxy, a taxi dancer Tom knew back when, and her beatn [...]

    7. I love to listen to audiobooks on long road trips. It is hard to find one that my husband will tolerate and that is appropriate for my teenage daughter. The audiobook version of The Bartenders Tale is a great choice for my family.We live in the west and most of our trips are to other western states. The bulk of this story is set in small town Montana. The story begins when a father, Tom Harry, travels to Phoenix to claim his young son, Rusty (Russell) and takes him home. Tom is the best bartende [...]

    8. I loved "The Whistling Season" by this author and was anxious to read this new book. Tom Harry, bartender at Gros Ventre, a blink and you miss it kind of town, retreives his son, Rusty, age 6 from his sister's house in Arizona, who has been raising Rusty since birth. Tom is a likable character and the Medicine Lodge is a popular bar. Rusty is happy to leave his aunt's house and his irritating nephews who constantly pick on him. Rusty loves the bar where Tom spends most of his time and loves the [...]

    9. Picking up an Ivan Doig novel is like placing yourself under a spell. You don't even want to put the book down between readings for fear of breaking the spell that holds you entranced. Mr. Doig is an incredible master of the written word. And he almost never disappoints. This one is definitely in the spell-binding category, at least for me. I began keeping track of passages that I wanted to remember and take note of. And finally gave up - there were just too many. His books are never ones to rac [...]

    10. The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig is rich and comfortable. As typical with Doig, the characters are so real that you wish you could meet them. Doig especially appeals to readers who grew up in the 50ies and 60ies in working class families. Tom Harry, bartender extraordinaire, struggles to raise his son, Rusty, and give him a better life. Tom is lacking in elocution, although he is, ironically, followed around by an expert in locution! However, the lack of communication between father and son giv [...]

    11. This was a reread for me. It is a great book written by my cousin Ivan Doig.I recommend it to all.Enjoy and Be Blessed.Diamond

    12. My review from the Missoula Independent:If Montana literature were a religion, Ivan Doig might be its pope. The author of 13 venerated novels, he has written a trilogy about Montana's statehood, a turn-of-the-century Butte novel called Work Song, and This House of Sky, a memoir of his boyhood growing up in a raw and magnificent landscape. Doig takes a different tack in The Bartender's Tale. It's a drama set in what he calls "the Two Medicine country," and particularly in a small town called Gros [...]

    13. A good read most definitely. It wasn't faced paced though. Neither was life during the fifties and 1960 when the bulk of the book took place in the mid west. This was my first Doig and I'm confident it won't be my last, a copy of the Whistling Season is on my to do list. What we have here is a very knowledgeable and experienced writer who handles the characters of man and son in a way that makes you long for the old times before everything went all Facebook on us and Reality TV took over using y [...]

    14. The book starts off very slow and continues that way throughout the book. The slowness does build to a sweet story of a summer shared by two twelve year old growing up in Montana one summer in 1960, but it is sorta boring. The author occasionally throws in a little bit of wit with a few interesting observations and pieces of dialog that might be something your grandfather would say as the story slowly, very slowly plows along:"It takes a good storyteller to turn eyes into ears.""It's French and [...]

    15. Ivan Doig has again told a wonderful story. He is a great storyteller. The characters in the Bartender's Tale are believable and he has great characters throughout the story. Some are quirky characters just like real people in small town Montana or small town USA. I recommend this story by Ivan Doig or any of his other books. He does an amazing amount of research and has lived some the stories he tells. I haven't spoken with Ivan Doig for several years, but he has a winner here. I love the kids [...]

    16. If you haven’t read any other books by Ivan Doig I wouldn’t recommend starting with this one but for those of you who have read all his other books reading this one is like spending time with an old friend. I was a little worried for a bit that he was heading down the path that he did withRide With Me Mariah Montana but he pulled it back and kept the story telling to what was needed to drive the plot instead of letting the stories take over.

    17. I honestly had no idea what this book would be about when I picked it up. When I last went down to the library, the librarian was having a “blind date with a book”, and the only thing that I had to choose this book from was the line “My father was the best bartender who ever lived.”Not much to go on, but one of my friends picked it out for me, and so I read it.I found the narrative to be very entertaining, and the author did a fantastic job of taking the reader on the adventures of Rusty [...]

    18. I've reviewed Doig's work before, and confessed that I consider him to be one of the best. I have always focused on Mr. Doig's use of language--which remains masterful. But this book struck me, as well, with his ability to create twists of events which strike the reader, as they do the characters, as both utterly unexpected and yet somehow inevitable. As I read, I think I see the unraveling coming from far back on the left, yet when it arrives it is sudden and around the corner on the right. In [...]

    19. A Magnificent Coming of Age Tale from Master Storyteller Ivan DoigNarrated in first person by an adult Russell “Rusty” Hardy looking back at the summer of 1960, when he is twelve years old, “The Bartender’s Tale” is an engrossing coming-of-age tale by someone who is both a superb storyteller and writer, Montana native Ivan Doig; this coming-of-age saga may be the most engrossing I have read in years. Doig weaves a most compelling and captivating story centered on the burgeoning warm re [...]

    20. This is a classic coming of age story and family saga, with the narrator being the now adult son of Tom Harry, and bearing a little similarity to Doig himself in "The House of Sky" (my other forever favorite book). Every single character in this book I absolutely love and want to sit at the bar with for a long while, while Tom Harry pours me another "Shellac". Part of the reason I love this book is the nostalgia it dredges up for metagging along with my Dad to various bars as a kid (back when th [...]

    21. I rec. this book via a GoodReads giveaway & loved it! I've read one other book ("The Whistling Season") by Ivan Doig and loved it as well. At this point, I've decided I have to read all his novels! How refreshing it was for me to read "The Bartender's Tale"! Ivan Doig is a wonderful story teller. I did not want this book to end. There is nothing predictable about this novel. The characters in this book are so well presented and developed that I felt as if I knew them personally. And as the s [...]

    22. Reading an Ivan Doig book is like a walk down a bucolic country road. Some days you may be in the mood for a quick drive on the freeway, but if you are in the mood to take your time with a book, I recommend The Bartender's Tale. Which is not to say it is boring at all. It just takes it's time getting to the tension of the story. The arc of this story goes against everything I've heard agents and publishers are looking for in books these days - high concept! tension that hits you on the first pag [...]

    23. What a terrific novel this is. I loved the characters and the sense of 1960's Montana. The relationship between Rusty and his dad Tom was so poignant, the devious Francine and her mother Proxy, the Gab Lab man Del: all were fascinating and well-drawn portraits, but it was just such a lovely portrayal of time and place. A really excellent book all the way around.

    24. Wow, this book has it all. Great writing, romance, history, plot and character development, and more than a couple surprises.Loved the story and the descriptions but most of all the wonderful characters. This would make a great movie

    25. Reading this book was rewarding, satisfying, and a pleasure. So my routine personal test of any new author in regard to the question “do I want to read more books written by this person?” generates a positive response. I enjoyed the story, the setting (Gros Ventre, Montana), the time (1960), the engaging characters, the insights about life and relationships the author expressed, and the author’s writing style. This is basically a warm-hearted family saga about the love a single father has [...]

    26. This is the second book that I have read by Ivan Doig, The Whistling Season being the first one. I am now a big fan of this author. He is an amazing story teller and I will seek out his other books. This story was enchanting and well crafted. Character development is excellent and I get to know and love the people he writes about. Wholesome stories are a welcome addition to my life and this author is a winner on that front!

    27. Loved this "sleeper" of a book. Beautiful story celebrating the American West, the end of the 50s and the beginning of many new changes in America, families and friendships, and the way life throws you for a loop when you least expect it. I especially loved the running undercurrent of linguistics celebrated in the story- a joy to read. Highly recommended.

    28. actually, I read this about 5 years ago when it came out, and am not at all bored rereading it! Love Ivan Doig's writing there are some choice bits in there. the character's are great, the glimpse into past times it is good reading, keeps me turning the pages.ok saw my book mark (aka receipt) and it was only 4 years agolighted in the writing, the character's, fun story line. the ending had a little twist and things fell into place neatly.

    29. This was my first Ivan Doig book and I really like his writing style. His stories are very entertaining. His knowledge of the history and people of Montana were very compelling. I will read more of his works.

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