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Doig Has His Day

October 28, 1990

Sunday (Sept. 30) I read the Book Review section of The Los Angeles Times, something I do every week. I was particularly interested in the review of Ivan Doig's book, "Ride With Me, Mariah Montana." As an ardent devotee of Montana authors, I have been reading Doig's works now for some time. My roots are in Montana, and I enjoy reading books written about my home state.

I was surprised to find in Judith Freeman's review a lack of acquaintance with his former novels in which the McCaskills are featured. She writes that "The first volume, 'English Creek' (1984), was set in the 1880s when the first McCaskills arrived in Montana. The second volume, 'Dancing at the Rascal Fair' (1987), took place during the Depression years."

She has the two novels confused: "Dancing at Rascal Fair" is set in the 1880s and only one McCaskill journeys to Montana from Scotland. Freeman, it appears, makes the mistake of assuming that since "English Creek" appeared first, it must be about the beginnings of the McCaskills in Montana.

What is interesting about Doig is that he moved his characters backwards in time, instead of dealing with them in a strictly chronological manner.


Chair, Department of English

Cal State Northridge


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