Dancing at the Rascal Fair
Ivan Doig, 1987
Simon & Schuster
Doig wrote this novel after English Creek as part of his McCaskill trilogy—which also includes Ride with Me, Mariah Montana—but read Dancing at the Rascal Fair first).
From its opening on the quays of a Scottish port in 1889 to its close on a windswept Montana homestead three decades later, this novel is a passionate and authentic chronicle of the American experience.
When we meet Angus McCaskill and Rob Barclay—emigrants, "both of us nineteen and green as the cheese of the moon and trying our double-damnedest not to show it"—they are setting off for a new life in a new land, in America, in Montana, "those words with their ends open." We follow their fortunes in the Two Medicine country at the base of the Rocky Mountains: the building of homes and the raising of families, making a living and making a life.
Here is the tale of the uncertainties of friendship and love; here are sheep-shearing contests and raucous dances in one-room schoolhouses; here are brutal winters and unrelenting battles of the will; here is a love of delightful and heartbreaking intensity, and another love, born of heartbreak, of an equally moving and stoical devotion. (From the author's website.)
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