Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Book Review: Prairie Nocturne

Prairie Nocturne is the latest "Two Medicine Country" Montana novel from Ivan Doig. I came across the novel in the "new books" section of the Lewes Public Library the other day. Doig is on my internal list of authors whose books I will check out, or buy, almost automatically (others are folks like the late Patrick O'Brian or Bernard Cornwell). I first found Doig through his novel English Creek and I have, I think, read most of his stuff.

Prairie Nocturne is not Doig's best. It's a fairly slow novel and I found it hard to follow in places. The story is a bit melodramatic. Still, Doig's great skill is in drawing strong characters and evoking a rich mountain and prairie landscape for them to people. As soon as I'd read his first, I knew that some day I would have to spend some time in Montana. I have not yet had a chance, but I know that I will.

Prairie Nocturne takes an interesting turn in exploring racism in the American west at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries. It also follows the process of schooling, rehearsing, and performance in the realm of theatrical singing that I found interesting.

In the end, the story resolution was strong enough to leave me feeling pleased with this book, and I can recommend it, though I also more strongly recommend several others, notably English Creek, Dancing at the Rascal Fair, and Ride With Me, Mariah Montana all of which explore this place and these people over several sections of time.

No comments:

Post a Comment