From Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Annie Proulx comes That Old Ace in the Hole, an exhilarating story brimming with language, history, landscape, music, and love.
Bob Dollar is a young man from Denver trying to make good in a bad world. Out of college and aimless, Dollar takes a job with Global Pork Rind, scouting out big spreads of land that can be converted to hog farms. Soon he's holed up in a two-bit Texas town called Woolybucket, where he settles into LaVon Fronk's old bunkhouse for fifty dollars a month, helps out at Cy Frease's Old Dog Café, and learns the hard way how vigorously the old Texas ranch owners will hold on to their land, even when their children want no part of it.
Robust, often bawdy, strikingly original, That Old Ace in the Hole traces the waves of change that have shaped the American West over the past century -- and in Bob Dollar, Proulx has created one of the most irrepressible characters in contemporary fiction.
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Bob Dollar is a reluctant land swindler. When the 25-year-old protagonist in Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole signs on as a location scout for Global Pork Rind, an industrial hog farming corporation, he has no idea what kind of moral quandaries he's in for. Well, maybe he does. His assignment, after all, is to infiltrate a tiny town in the Texas Panhandle and find a tract of land his employer can turn into an industrial hog farm. Bob tells the locals he's scouting for luxury home developers ("They feel there is potential here"), but as a cover story it's less than clever. Only a fool would build mansions in the godforsaken Panhandle country, a place of light soil, bad wind, killing drought, and end-of-world thunder. "To live here," one Panhandler tells Bob, "it sure helps if you are half cow and half mesquite and all crazy." The narrative follows Bob's hapless quest to ink a deal, but Proulx's mission is bigger than that. She's out to tell the story of the Panhandle itself, to write an entirely new literary territory into existence. With the help of a menagerie of eccentric characters set down in "the most complicated part of North America," Proulx succeeds admirably. --Claire DedererAbout the Author:
Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent book is Fine Just the Way It Is. She lives in Wyoming.
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