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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

That Old Ace in the Hole

by

That Old Ace in the Hole Cover

 

Staff Pick

What engages the reader in this story is not a traditional plot line; rather, it's a garland of overtly detailed vignettes and anecdotes about a place and a roster of quirky characters that Proulx obviously loves creating. There's wit and wackiness galore. A rich yet somewhat dry dessert — we're talkin' Oklahoma here.
Recommended by Mark, Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Proulx is our laureate of landscape....[Her] fiction has become even richer book by book. With this funny and haunting panorama...she has managed to outdo her previous outdoing." The New York Observer

Review:

"[S]he revels in odd twists of fate and characters as quirky as their names, and greatly sharpens our insights into western history and ecological realities while rhapsodizing splendidly over everything from Bakelite jewelry to quilts to windmills." Donna Seaman, Booklist

Review:

"[A] bawdy, environmental comedy....It's not a novel for impatient readers, but what seem like dislocated stories are ultimately tied up. And what begins as dark comedy ends full of hope and dreams." Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

Review:

"Funny, deft, and sharply told, Proulx's latest suffers from excessive local color in parts, but it's engaging and worthwhile — if not up to her usual level." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Too much of the text feels like only partly digested research, without much happening despite the pileup of stories, and the reader feels the urge to reach out and shake the slightly unreal Bob. But Proulx's luscious, somewhat wacky way with words remains intact (who else would talk about 'bronze Polaroid light' or 'a weasel-headed horse'?), and by the final pages she has worked her old magic." Barbara Hoffert, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)

Review:

"One grows quite fond of the characters....But the novel...doesn't engage the emotions with the same immediacy as did...The Shipping News. Readers must settle here for a good story steeped in atmosphere, but not a compelling one." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[In] That Old Ace in the Hole, Proulx's hardscrabble wit and wisdom are heightened by the force of her language — her bone-deep feel for its curves and crevices." The Boston Globe

Review:

"Her new novel, That Old Ace in the Hole, squeals on the horrors of corporate hog farming with all the subtlety of a stuck pig. Her old-fashioned country folks are quirky characters who love the land and treat their animals with respect. The officers of the Global Pork Rind corporation, meanwhile, are conniving liars who speak of 'pork units' and live in Asia. The story is continually entertaining, but thematically boarish." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)

Review:

"Vivid character descriptions and flashes of the passing daily show abound in this book....The prose may be slow and demand care from the reader, but Proulx repays our attention with a thousand shocks of charged recognition." Sven Birkerts, Book Magazine

Review:

"[A] book that sometimes feels more like a collection of short stories than a novel. But there is such richness here, so much eccentricity, not to mention laugh-out-loud humor....And the writing is drop-dead gorgeous." Margaret Gunning, January Magazine

Review:

"Rich, engaging....Annie Proulx is, perhaps, our best author of place...and That Old Ace in the Hole finds her in the Texas panhandle, probing its empty landscape for deeply etched characters and gentle humor." Vogue

Review:

"Proulx casts her sharp eye on her beloved and bedeviled Pandhandle country....[S]he's that odd literary bid, an itinerant regionalist, a writer who moves from one locale to another but in each settings nests until she makes it her own." Time

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestseller from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News!

Synopsis:

Proulx's novel is told through the eyes of Bob Dollar, a young Denver man whose own parents abandoned him on his uncle's doorstep when he was seven. A strikingly intimate account of the vast waves of change shaping American culture across the decades, That Old Ace in the Hole is an exceptional achievement from a fine writer.

Synopsis:

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.

About 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.

Table of Contents

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

1. Global Pork Rind

2. Art Plastic

3. On the Road Again

4. The Evil Fat Boy

5. No Room in Cowboy Rose

6. Sheriff Hugh Dough

7. The Rural Compendium

8. Pioneer Fronk

9. The Busted Star

10. Old Dog

11. Tater Crouch

12. Rope Butt

13. Habakuk's Luck

14. The Young Couple

15. Abel and Cain

16. Curiosity Killed the Cat

17. The Devil's Hatband

18. Just a Few Questions

19. The Sheriff's Office

20. Everything's O.K. So Far

21. Triple Cross

22. Ribeye Writes

23. Rich Orlando

24. Violet's Night on the Town

25. Top Sales

26. Brother Mesquite

27. Trip to Denver

28. Used but Not Abused

29. Ribeye Cluke's Office

30. Quick Change

31. Mrs. Betty Doak

32. Ace in the Hole

33. Failure

34. Barbwire

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743242486
Author:
Proulx, Annie
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Author:
Prouix, Annie
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
Denver
Subject:
Texas Panhandle
Subject:
Oklahoma Panhandle
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Pulitzer Prize; PEN Faulkner Award; Brokeback Mountain; Shipping News; National Book Award; New Yorker; American West; E. Annie Proulx; short stories; Flannery O Connor; Bob Dollar; hog farms; Texas; Texas ranch
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Series Volume:
108-117
Publication Date:
September 16, 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 in 10.955 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

That Old Ace in the Hole Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780743242486 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

What engages the reader in this story is not a traditional plot line; rather, it's a garland of overtly detailed vignettes and anecdotes about a place and a roster of quirky characters that Proulx obviously loves creating. There's wit and wackiness galore. A rich yet somewhat dry dessert — we're talkin' Oklahoma here.

"Review" by , "Proulx is our laureate of landscape....[Her] fiction has become even richer book by book. With this funny and haunting panorama...she has managed to outdo her previous outdoing."
"Review" by , "[S]he revels in odd twists of fate and characters as quirky as their names, and greatly sharpens our insights into western history and ecological realities while rhapsodizing splendidly over everything from Bakelite jewelry to quilts to windmills."
"Review" by , "[A] bawdy, environmental comedy....It's not a novel for impatient readers, but what seem like dislocated stories are ultimately tied up. And what begins as dark comedy ends full of hope and dreams."
"Review" by , "Funny, deft, and sharply told, Proulx's latest suffers from excessive local color in parts, but it's engaging and worthwhile — if not up to her usual level."
"Review" by , "Too much of the text feels like only partly digested research, without much happening despite the pileup of stories, and the reader feels the urge to reach out and shake the slightly unreal Bob. But Proulx's luscious, somewhat wacky way with words remains intact (who else would talk about 'bronze Polaroid light' or 'a weasel-headed horse'?), and by the final pages she has worked her old magic." (read the entire Atlantic review)
"Review" by , "One grows quite fond of the characters....But the novel...doesn't engage the emotions with the same immediacy as did...The Shipping News. Readers must settle here for a good story steeped in atmosphere, but not a compelling one."
"Review" by , "[In] That Old Ace in the Hole, Proulx's hardscrabble wit and wisdom are heightened by the force of her language — her bone-deep feel for its curves and crevices."
"Review" by , "Her new novel, That Old Ace in the Hole, squeals on the horrors of corporate hog farming with all the subtlety of a stuck pig. Her old-fashioned country folks are quirky characters who love the land and treat their animals with respect. The officers of the Global Pork Rind corporation, meanwhile, are conniving liars who speak of 'pork units' and live in Asia. The story is continually entertaining, but thematically boarish." (read the entire CSM review)
"Review" by , "Vivid character descriptions and flashes of the passing daily show abound in this book....The prose may be slow and demand care from the reader, but Proulx repays our attention with a thousand shocks of charged recognition."
"Review" by , "[A] book that sometimes feels more like a collection of short stories than a novel. But there is such richness here, so much eccentricity, not to mention laugh-out-loud humor....And the writing is drop-dead gorgeous."
"Review" by , "Rich, engaging....Annie Proulx is, perhaps, our best author of place...and That Old Ace in the Hole finds her in the Texas panhandle, probing its empty landscape for deeply etched characters and gentle humor."
"Review" by , "Proulx casts her sharp eye on her beloved and bedeviled Pandhandle country....[S]he's that odd literary bid, an itinerant regionalist, a writer who moves from one locale to another but in each settings nests until she makes it her own."
"Synopsis" by , The New York Times bestseller from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News!
"Synopsis" by , Proulx's novel is told through the eyes of Bob Dollar, a young Denver man whose own parents abandoned him on his uncle's doorstep when he was seven. A strikingly intimate account of the vast waves of change shaping American culture across the decades, That Old Ace in the Hole is an exceptional achievement from a fine writer.
"Synopsis" by , 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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