"Can't cook but doesn't bite." So begins the newspaper ad offering the services of an "A-1 housekeeper, sound morals, exceptional disposition" that draws the hungry attention of widower Oliver Milliron in the fall of 1909. And so begins the unforgettable season that deposits the non-cooking, non-biting, ever-whistling Rose Llewellyn and her font-of-knowledge brother, Morris Morgan, in Marias Coulee along with a stampede of homesteaders drawn by the promise of the Big Ditch - a gargantuan irrigation project intended to make the Montana prairie bloom.
"Starred Review. Doig's antique narrative voice, which sometimes jars, feels right at home here, coming from the mouth of the young Paul, who is eagerly learning Latin as he tries to make sense of his ever-enlarging world. An entrancing new chapter in the literature of the West." - Booklist.
"Starred Review. A book to pass on to your favorite readers: a story of lives of active choice, lived actively." - PW.
"This is an affectionate, heartwarming tale that also celebrates a vanished way of life and laments its passing." - Library Journal.
"The melodrama is a weak ending for a novel that had so far avoided it. Minor work, carried along by homespun charm." - Kirkus.
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Rated of 5
The Whistling Season
This book really surprised me. Very delightful, smart, endearing and surprising. I highly recommend it.
Ivan Doig was born in Montana and grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front, the dramatic landscape that has inspired much of his writing. A former ranch hand, newspaperman, and magazine editor, Doig is the author of twelve novels, most recently The Bartender's Tale and Sweet Thunder, and four works of nonfiction, including his classic first book, the memoir This House of Sky. He has been a National Book Award finalist and has received the Wallace Stegner Award and a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, among numerous other honors.
His major theme is family life in the past, mixing personal memory and regional history. The first three Montana novelsEnglish Creek, Dancing at the Rascal Fair, and Ride with Me, Mariah Montanaform the so-called "...
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