Annie Proulx uses the bland and blank canvas of Bob Dollar's character to help the citizens of Woolybucket in the Texas panhandle come to life. Hard reading at first, the book gets more interesting as the reader gets to know the people of the town and their history. Crazy names and quirks make the characters lively and lovable. Proulx even makes an environmental statement before the book is over.
I really enjoyed the homespun way this story unfolded - and the narration was spot on, bringing you into the panhandle hog ranch drama. Prior to starting this book, I knew nothing of this kind of prairie angst - but I'm ever so much smarter now, and I surely did enjoy my time with Bob Dollar and the folks of Woolybucket.
Hilarious and poignant both, this is one of Annie's masterpiece novels. I can sure this one being made into a movie already. I have read SHIPPING NEWS, CLOSE RANGE, HEART SONGS and BAD DIRT, and I think this one is my favorite by far.
Reading Ann Proulx is like eating a whole wonder meal as opposed to other writers, just like small appetizer. She writes descriptions of characters thoroughly and describes country sides beautifully and you want to be there. It is not all sunshine and light but characters come out okay. Recommend highly
This book was so good! I loved Arliss Howard doing the reading. He was perfect and brought the characters to life. I hope he does more audio books
In That Old Ace in the Hole, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Annie Proulx has written an exhilarating story brimming with language, history, landscape, music, and love. The novel, Proulx's fourth, is told through the eyes of Bob Dollar, a young Denver man trying to make good in a bad world. Dollar is out of college but aimless, and he takes a job with Global Pork Rind -- his task to locate big spreads of land in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles that can be purchased by the corporation and converted to hog farms. Dollar finds himself in a Texas town called Woolybucket, whose idiosyncratic inhabitants have ridden out all manner of seismic shifts in panhandle country. These are tough men and women who survived tornadoes and dust storms, and witnessed firsthand the demise of the great cattle ranches. Now it's feed lots, hog farms, and ever-expanding drylands. Dollar settles into LaVon Fronk's old bunkhouse for fifty dollars a month, helps out at Cy Frease's Old Dog Cafe, targets Ace and Tater Crouch's ranch for Global Pork, and learns the hard way how vigorously the old owners will hold on to their land, even though their children want no part of it. Robust, often bawdy, strikingly original and intimate, That Old Ace in the Hole tracks the vast waves of change that have shaped the American landscape and character over the past century -- and in Bob Dollar, Proulx has created one of the most irresistible characters in contemporary fiction.
Disappointing. Her prose is still beautiful, but in this one she has no story to tell. It's just a recitation of endless yarns, that become boring.
Not as good as her other book "The Shipping News". But, if you like Annie Proulx's style you should give this one a try.
"Proulx's sentences...are marvels of nuance."--San Francisco Chronicle.
A good read, and an interesting look at a part of the country that I don't know anything about. Proulx is always fun to read.
Proulx paints wonderful landscapes. The expansive descriptions of natural phenomena keep you reading and enjoying.
I expected to like this book more than I did - on my aunt Jeanne's recommendation, and considering how much I loved The Shipping News. But I found it hard to get into this story about hapless Bob Dollar, raised by his junkstore running uncle after his parents ran away to obscurity in Alaska. Owing to his abandonment, Bob strives to not grow up to be as irresponsible as his mom and dad, and sets out for professional success in a rather dubious undercover position as Site Scout for a global hog farming corporation. Poor Bob seems set up for failure from the outset.
I just didn't fall in love with Bob Dollar or any of these characters, although Proulx's writing is striking. I enjoyed hearing the stories Bob Dollar's landlady spewed throughout the book, but I echoed Bob's disappointment in how she would interrupt herself at crucial points in many of the stories, and was particularly annoyed with her repeated tempting to tell him a story about scars on her grandfather's back (which btw is actually how the book freaking ENDED!)
Great story with interesting characters. Made me think about eating pork.
This is a cat and mouse chase love story. I enjoyed it.
amusing, well observed characters