Last bus to wisdom

Ivan Doig

Book - 2015

"In the spirit of The Bartender's Tale, a lively and poignant coming-of-age story about a boy and his great-uncle on a cross-country odyssey. Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Doig's beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old's imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for "female trouble" in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do i...s to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate-bossy, opinionated, argumentative, and tyrannical--is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German (as Donal discovers him to be), and Donal can't seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate decides to pack him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound. But to Donal's surprise, he's not traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him. In the immortal American tradition, the pair light out for the territory together, meeting a classic Doigian ensemble of characters and having rollicking misadventures along the way. Charming, wise, and slyly funny, Last Bus to Wisdom is another treasure of a novel from the best storyteller of the West"--

Saved in:

1st Floor Show me where

FICTION/Doig Ivan
1 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Doig Ivan Lost--Library Applied
1st Floor FICTION/Doig Ivan Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Road fiction
Bildungsromans
Published
New York : Riverhead Books 2015.
Language
English
Physical Description
453 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781594632020
1594632022
Main Author
Ivan Doig (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* The majority of the late Doig's novels were deeply rooted in one place, the Two Medicine Country in Montana, but this time, in his swan song, he takes readers on a road trip. In the summer of 1951, 11-year-old Donal Cameron's grandmother develops "female trouble" and must submit to an operation. Donal is dispatched by Greyhound (the "dog bus") to Wisconsin, where he is to live with his Aunt Kate until his grandmother recovers. Packing his treasured "memory book," in which he asks any and all to inscribe a few meaningful words (fellow bus rider Jack Kerouac is one of the signatories), Donal makes the lengthy trek only to discover that Aunt Kate is a tyrant who soon tires of the boy and sends him packing back to Montana. This time, though, Donal has a companion, Kate's browbeaten, glass-eyed, sort-of husband, Herman the German—on the lam in more ways than one—who sets the second half of the book on fire with a combination of wide-one-eyed innocence and sly resourcefulness, which helps the unlikely pair through all manner of adventures. Yes, this tale displays the sentimentality and antic prose to which Doig always was prone, but it is such an utterly charming, goodhearted romp that readers will willingly immerse themselves in the all-pervasive sweetness of the story like Depression-era moviegoers flocking to a Preston Sturges comedy.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Much beloved by librarians and library patrons, Doig will be missed by both, and this posthumous publication will be greeted enthusiastically as a fitting tribute to a memorable body of work. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In the summer of 1951, young Donal Cameron lives happily with his grandmother, the cook for the Double W Ranch in Montana. When Gram has to undergo an operation, she sends Donny to her sister Kate's in Wisconsin. Life with bossy, rule-bound Aunt Kate is nothing like the idyllic ranch life with Gram. Uncle Herman, Kate's long-suffering husband, tells Donny, "She wouldn't have nothing to do if not yelling her head off at me." With his affinity for cowboys, Karl May Western novels, and bunkhouse lingo, Herman becomes Donny's ally. It isn't long before Kate can take no more of her grandson's free-spirited ways and returns him to Montana. To his surprise, one of his fellow passengers on the bus is Uncle Herman. In the tradition of the American journey novel, their misadventures begin as they head West to Uncle Herman's imagined landscape of cowboys and Indians, meeting an array of colorful characters. Donny's life-changing experience brings him full circle but forever a changed young man. VERDICT Doig's superb storytelling does not disappoint. The dialog is snappy, funny, and true to the charming characters. With the author's passing in April, this is the last journey into familiar Doig territory we've come to admire.—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Palisade, CO [Page 75]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The pleasures of reading Doig's final novel (he died in April 2015) are bittersweet. His familiar themes are here: love for his native Montana, and his astute observation of and admiration for the tough homesteaders and ranchers who eke out a hardscrabble living. The Double W ranch is once again a backdrop, but much of the action takes place in other western locations, as 11-year-old narrator Donal Cameron (a thinly disguised, youthful Doig) travels to Manitouwoc, Wisc., to stay with a distant relative while his grandmother (who is his guardian; Donal is an orphan) undergoes surgery. Donal is an independent kid, but he's also an adolescent with anxieties and an overactive imagination, propelling him headlong into scrapes. What was to be a simple trip morphs into a picaresque odyssey in which Donal goes on the lam with a man called Herman the German, who has secrets he must hide. Funny, suspenseful, and nostalgic, this is a rollicking tale set during the summer of 1951 as a "dog bus" (aka Greyhound) transports the duo to the legendary Crow Fair ("the tribal heart of the Indian world"), Yellowstone, Butte, and places in between. En route, Donal encounters con artists and scalawags who cheat and steal, and benevolent people—hobos and others—who offer hope and shelter. Characters introduced early on turn up again later, and when time Donal and Herman squeeze onto the derelict last bus to the town of Wisdom, Mont., where they will work harvesting hay, their travails lead to a happy ending. Though this book lacks the deeper resonance of Doig's previous novels, such as Dancing at the Rascal Fair and his classic nonfiction memoir, This House of Sky, it's nonetheless a heartwarming, memorable story. Agent: Liz Dahransoff, Dahransoff & Verill. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Rejected by his domineering great aunt during the summer of 1951, imaginative eleven-year-old Donal travels back to his ailing grandmother's home accompanied by his German great uncle while experiencing haphazard adventures along the way.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"In the spirit of The Bartender's Tale, a lively and poignant coming-of-age story about a boy and his great-uncle on a cross-country odyssey. Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Doig's beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old's imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for "female trouble" in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate-bossy, opinionated, argumentative, and tyrannical--is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German (as Donal discovers him to be), and Donal can't seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate decides to pack him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound. But to Donal's surprise, he's not traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him. In the immortal American tradition, the pair light out for the territory together, meeting a classic Doigian ensemble of characters and having rollicking misadventures along the way. Charming, wise, and slyly funny, Last Bus to Wisdom is anothertreasure of a novel from the best storyteller of the West"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Rejected by his domineering great aunt during the summer of 1951, imaginative 11-year-old Donal travels back to his ailing grandmother's home accompanied by his German great uncle while experiencing haphazard adventures along the way. By the best-selling author of The Bartender's Tale. 50,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Named a Best Book of the Year by the Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Kirkus ReviewThe final novel from a great American storyteller.Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Ivan Doig’s beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old’s imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for “female trouble” in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate–bossy, opinionated, argumentative, and tyrannical—is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German, and Donal can’t seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate  packs him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound. But as it turns out, Donal isn’t traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him. In the immortal American tradition, the pair light out for the territory together, meeting a classic Doigian ensemble of characters and having rollicking misadventures along the way.Charming, wise, and slyly funny, Last Bus to Wisdom is a last sweet gift from a writer whose books have bestowed untold pleasure on countless readers. 

Review by Publisher Summary 5

In the spirit of The Bartender’s Tale, a lively and poignant coming-of-age story about a boy and his great-uncle on a cross-country odyssey.Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Doig’s beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old’s imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for “female trouble” in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate–bossy, opinionated, argumentative, and tyrannical—is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German (as Donal discovers him to be), and Donal can’t seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate decides to pack him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound.But to Donal’s surprise, he’s not traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him. In the immortal American tradition, the pair light out for the territory together, meeting a classic Doigian ensemble of characters and having rollicking misadventures along the way. Charming, wise, and slyly funny, Last Bus to Wisdom is another treasure of a novel from the best storyteller of the West.