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Book Title: Bucking the Sun|
The author of the book: Ivan Doig
Edition: Diane Pub Co
Date of issue: June 28th 1996
ISBN 13: 9780788157004
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 313 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1586 times
Reader ratings: 5.4
Read full description of the books:
"Bucking the Sun" makes even clearer Ivan Doig's worthiness to succeed Wallace Stegner as the foremost chronicler of lives in the American West, though in fact they weren't that far apart in age; Doig just got a later start. This fine novel about the construction of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana, a 1933-38 endeavor that was a flagship of FDR's New Deal WPA projects, seems the most, well, Stegnerian of Doig's books that I've read so far. I still prefer Stegner, but Doig hasn't disappointed me yet.
"Bucking the Sun" opens with the apparently foul play deaths of two members of the Duff clan, their naked bodies found in the cab of a truck pulled from the water at the Missouri River dam site in Montana. Both were married, but not to each other. Doig keeps their identities secret until the end of the book, meanwhile hopping back and forth between the Duffs in the here and now and via flashbacks, and providing more information than you probably ever wanted to know about the construction of massive earthen dams. Those looking for a crime/mystery novel will be disappointed; of course, anyone thinking that didn't know much about Doig coming in.
Doig contrasts the politics and passions of the Duffs, sprinkling in his amazing way with description. Doig really is an extraordinary writer at his best, and he often is that here. But the quick jumps from character to character and the interspersing of flashbacks sometimes throws a wrench in the rhythm. By not solving the mystery of the opening-scene deaths until the end, and presenting it as something of a surprise, Doig sets himself up for failure. He can't completely win either way. If we see it coming, he's ruined the surprise; if it's a surprise, we feel a little cheated in that he hasn't shown us in much detail the relationship of the two who died and who was cheating on who. Still, I was affected by the ending, and found it strong despite the dilemma.
Again I've given Doig 3 stars — my occasional confusion about the dam possibly one of the culprits — and again feel I've cheated him. It's a 3.5-star book, but I rounded down again. This is about as much as I can love a 3-star book, let's put it that way; there is enough beautiful prose here for a dozen novels.
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Read information about the authorIvan Doig was born in White Sulphur Springs, Montana to a family of homesteaders and ranch hands. After the death of his mother Berneta, on his sixth birthday, he was raised by his father Charles "Charlie" Doig and his grandmother Elizabeth "Bessie" Ringer. After several stints on ranches, they moved to Dupuyer, Pondera County, Montana in the north to herd sheep close to the Rocky Mountain Front.
After his graduation from Valier high school, Doig attended Northwestern University, where he received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in journalism. He later earned a Ph.D. in American history at the University of Washington, writing his dissertation about John J. McGilvra (1827-1903). He now lives with his wife Carol Doig, née Muller, a university professor of English, in Seattle, Washington.
Before Ivan Doig became a novelist, he wrote for newspapers and magazines as a free-lancer and worked for the United States Forest Service.
Much of his fiction is set in the Montana country of his youth. His major theme is family life in the past, mixing personal memory and regional history. As the western landscape and people play an important role in his fiction, he has been hailed as the new dean of western literature, a worthy successor to Wallace Stegner.
His works includes both fictional and non-fictional writings. They can be divided into four groups:
News: A Consumer's Guide (1972) - a media textbook coauthored by Carol Doig
Streets We Have Come Down: Literature of the City (1975) - an anthology edited by Ivan Doig
Utopian America: Dreams and Realities (1976) - an anthology edited by Ivan Doig
This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind (1979) - memoirs based on the author's life with his father and grandmother (nominated for National Book Award)
Heart Earth (1993) - memoirs based on his mother's letters to her brother Wally
Winter Brothers: A Season at the Edge of America (1980) - an essayistic dialog with James G. Swan
The Sea Runners (1982) - an adventure novel about four Swedes escaping from New Archangel, today's Sitka, Alaska
English Creek (1984)
Dancing at the Rascal Fair (1987)
Ride with Me, Mariah Montana (1990)
Bucking the Sun: A Novel (1996)
Mountain Time: A Novel (1999)
Prairie Nocturne: A Novel (2003)
The Whistling Season: A Novel (2006)
The Eleventh Man: A Novel (2008)
The first three Montana novels form the so-called McCaskill trilogy, covering the first centennial of Montana's statehood from 1889 to 1989.
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