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The Resource Last bus to wisdom, Ivan Doig

Last bus to wisdom, Ivan Doig

Label
Last bus to wisdom
Title
Last bus to wisdom
Statement of responsibility
Ivan Doig
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"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"--
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • /* 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. -- Ott, Bill (Reviewed 06-01-2015) (Booklist, vol 111, number 19, p59)
  • 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.) --Staff (Reviewed June 8, 2015) (Publishers Weekly, vol 262, issue 23, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ 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 --Donna Bettencourt (Reviewed July 1, 2015) (Library Journal, vol 140, issue 12, p75)
  • /* Starred Review */ Two long-distance bus trips give an 11-year-old new horizons and run a lively gamut through mid-20th-century American life. Orphaned Donal Cameron is miserable about being sent off to Wisconsin in June 1951 to stay with a great-aunt he's never met while his grandmother has surgery back in Gros Ventre, Montana, though the trip does give him a chance to exercise his overactive imagination with entirely fictional accounts of his antecedents and destination, which he recites to unwary fellow passengers. By the time the bus pulls into Manitowoc, Donal has collected a batch of new signatures and maxims for his cherished autograph book, received his first real kiss from a good-hearted waitress named Letty, and met her boyfriend, Harv, on his way back to jail, accompanied by a mean-spirited sheriff who will be troubling Donal again. Meanwhile, Doig has thoroughly engaged readers' sympathies for his high-spirited yet vulnerable protagonist. Bossy Aunt Kate finds Donal an unbearable trial and quickly decides to send him back to Montana, which means to foster care. Fortunately, the boy has bonded with Kate's other victim, her husband, Herman, who turns up on the bus with the welcome news that he intercepted her letter to the state authorities. The pair sets off for a summer of adventures, related with Doig's customary brio. Jack Kerouac, a champion bronco buster, and a crew of rough-hewn but benevolent hobos are among those they meet on the road to the eponymous Wisdom, where Donal fast-talks them onto a haying crew. Enjoyable coincidences abound, and a leisurely storyline with plenty of twists gives the author ample room to display his knack for vivid thumbnail sketches and bravura descriptions elucidating the skills involved in all kinds of labor. The nasty sheriff gets his comeuppance, and Donal gets a chance to combine new opportunities with old bonds in a highly satisfying conclusion. A marvelous picaresque showing off the late Doig's ready empathy for all kinds of people and his perennial gift for spinning a great yarn. He will be missed.(Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2015)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10435892
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Doig, Ivan
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
Intended audience
1160L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Boys
  • Uncles
  • Travelers
  • FICTION / Historical
  • FICTION / Coming of Age
  • FICTION / Cultural Heritage
  • Boys
  • Travelers
  • Uncles
Label
Last bus to wisdom, Ivan Doig
Instantiates
Publication
Note
"Bestselling author of The Bartender's Tale"--Jacket
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1100563
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
453 pages
Isbn
9781594632020
Lccn
2015014721
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781594632020
  • (OCoLC)900623787
Label
Last bus to wisdom, Ivan Doig
Publication
Note
"Bestselling author of The Bartender's Tale"--Jacket
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1100563
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
453 pages
Isbn
9781594632020
Lccn
2015014721
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781594632020
  • (OCoLC)900623787

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
    • Milwood BranchBorrow it
      12500 Amherst Dr, Austin, TX, 78727, US
      30.4223444 -97.7161692
    • Ruiz BranchBorrow it
      1600 Grove Blvd., Austin, TX, 78741, US
      30.2298616 -97.7070109
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