**** The Whistling Season By Ivan Doig A paean to a lost way of life.
In 1909, recent widower Oliver Milliron and his three sons answer a newspaper ad for a housekeeper who "Can't Cook But Doesn't Bite." A surprisingly young and pretty Rose Llewellyn, with her erudite brother Morris Morgan in tow, soon arrives at Milliron's Montana farm. Rose captures the family's heart, Morris takes over the schoolteacher's job, secrets emerge, and Rose and Morris forever change the Millirons' lives. Narrated in 1957 by Oliver's eldest son, Paul, The Whistling Season recalls this lost era as Paul, now the state's public school superintendent, announces the closure of Montana's one-room schoolhouses in the face of Sputnik.
Harcourt. 345 pages. $25. ISBN: 0151012377
Minneapolis Star Tribune ****1/2
"I'm here to report on my love affair with this magical novel. ... The book is an elegy to the one-room schoolhouse and the kind of community it fostered, but it's never weepily nostalgic." BRIGITTE FRASE
Rocky Mountain News ****1/2
"Doig is at his best.... Often a trademark of effective literature from the American West, [his] use of setting can be a catalyst of mood, a foreshadow of impending action or change, a harbored emotion of a character or town." JENNIE A. CAMP
Seattle Post-Intelligencer ****
"This enticing Montana-set story represents a welcome return for the legions of Doig fans, but also a most suitable introduction for those readers tardy in their discovery of this writer's considerable charms and talents.... Not all days are halcyon on Montana's western front ... but this is a novel of hope, not despair." JOHN MARSHALL
Seattle Times ****
"In his hands, Paul's Montana prairie community becomes a microcosm for all communities. And though the setting is the historical West, the forces at play on the characters remain current, from ethnic mistrust and millennial panic, to standardized tests and school closures--and a distant bureaucracy that holds sway over all." TIM MCNULTY
Washington Post ****