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This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind Paperback – February 19, 1980
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
An only child, his mother dying when he is six years old, Doig is raised by his father, Charlie, who works various jobs, sheepherding, haying, moving from place to place, and for a while leasing a small ranch of his own, his son in tow. Charlie is a hard-working man, with a big heart and tender love for his son. Concerned by a turn of bad health, he is reconciled to his mother-in-law, who did not approve of her daughter's marriage to him, and the three of them become a family that remains together until Charlie's death at age 70.
The book captures and preserves in detail a way of life that has almost vanished from America. Doig tells of growing up in wide open spaces among livestock and wildlife, learning from his father the skills of making a living off the land and surviving against the odds. He attends small town schools, spending the winters in rented rooms, seeing his father and grandmother only on weekends. Much of his time spent with adults or alone, he grows up more quickly than his peers and learns to love solitude.
At 300+ pages, this is not a long book, but it's no page-turner.Read more ›
Doig is a gifted writer with the facility of a James Agee in his choice of words and phrasing. On the page he presents a constant wild, vivid sensory impression, as if you were riding on horseback with him through his beloved Montana hills, sharing the terrain, people and history in ways you hadn't experienced before and couldn't experience anywhere else.
His descriptions show keen insight and attention to detail through carefully chosen, apt simile and metaphor. "I had noticed at Jordan's," he writes about a situation he experienced as a child, "...the boarding child is something like a stranded visitor that people get accustomed to half-seeing at the edges of their vision -- and no one, least of all me, seemed to think there was much unusual about my alighting here and there casually as a roosting pullet."
As a young boy, exploring: "For by greatest luck a silvered ship, high-hulled and pinging with emptiness, rode at the far end of the ranch buildings. A ship, at least to my imaginings. In the years when the machine chomped broadly through grainfields, it was called a combine. Now this dreadnaught stood, in its tones of dulling metal and cluster of idle gearwheels, for me to climb into..."
Here's the epitome of fine writing. You won't find more vivid images anywhere and he doesn't stint at all with language.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite stories and I need to reread it soon. I don't even recall how I fell across this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nocturnal
I did not hear about this author until after he had died. I am incredibly grateful that he put his energy into sharing his life's experience with others. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This was my first Ivan Doig, read for a book club. What I wished for most of all while reading this book was large chunks of time to thoroughly enjoy and ingest. Read morePublished 1 month ago by aphillipterp
Best book I have read of his. Also, best book I have read this year. We read it for my book club and we all loved it! Such beautiful, descriptive writing! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Margene Eyre
Powerful, passionate and genuine...Ivan Doig has always been a great storyteller and his memoir is no exception. Read morePublished 3 months ago by William J. Higgins,III