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Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole 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, when 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 witnessed first hand tornadoes, dust storms, and 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 Café, 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, The Old Ace in the Hole tracks the vast waves of change that have shaped the American landscape and the character over the past century. In Bob Dollar, Proulx has created one of the most irresistible characters in contemporary fiction.

Topics: Texas, Pigs, Farming, Cowboys, Bawdy, Small Town, Oklahoma, and Colorado

Published: Scribner on Dec 1, 2007
ISBN: 9781416588924
List price: $11.99
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I listened to this book as I was driving from Iowa to North Carolina. I don't really know if I would've liked it as much if I'd read it, but listening to it was wonderful. It's become one of those rare, golden experiences I return to often in memory. Everything was perfect -- the sunlight, the drive, the story -- it all came together. Best book-on-tape experience I've ever had. And while Bob Dollar is something of a dithering idiot, the characterization of the Texas pan handle and the hog farming industry was riveting. Also, all that stuff about Bakelite...sweet. I don't know. I can't really say why I liked this book, other than that sometimes, Proulx's writing borders on incandescent. Her descriptions can be breathtaking. Obviously, her short stories are better from a language standpoint, but nothing she's written has ever struck me like 'That Old Ace in the Hole.'read more
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Annie Proulx has done another fine job of showing readers the West as it is now. Her stories are a bit absurd at times but the character development is more than worth the absurdity.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've been trying to read That Old Ace in the Hole : A Novel, but I'm going to give it up. Annie Proulx has built an impressive encyclopedia of individuals of the Oklahoma panhandle, each with their own life history and quirky personality, but I'm hungry for a plot, something to tie them all together and keep me turning the pages. I'm halfway through and still haven't found a plot, so I'm going to give it up unless one of you, dear readers, presents a compelling reason to keep going.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

I listened to this book as I was driving from Iowa to North Carolina. I don't really know if I would've liked it as much if I'd read it, but listening to it was wonderful. It's become one of those rare, golden experiences I return to often in memory. Everything was perfect -- the sunlight, the drive, the story -- it all came together. Best book-on-tape experience I've ever had. And while Bob Dollar is something of a dithering idiot, the characterization of the Texas pan handle and the hog farming industry was riveting. Also, all that stuff about Bakelite...sweet. I don't know. I can't really say why I liked this book, other than that sometimes, Proulx's writing borders on incandescent. Her descriptions can be breathtaking. Obviously, her short stories are better from a language standpoint, but nothing she's written has ever struck me like 'That Old Ace in the Hole.'
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Annie Proulx has done another fine job of showing readers the West as it is now. Her stories are a bit absurd at times but the character development is more than worth the absurdity.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've been trying to read That Old Ace in the Hole : A Novel, but I'm going to give it up. Annie Proulx has built an impressive encyclopedia of individuals of the Oklahoma panhandle, each with their own life history and quirky personality, but I'm hungry for a plot, something to tie them all together and keep me turning the pages. I'm halfway through and still haven't found a plot, so I'm going to give it up unless one of you, dear readers, presents a compelling reason to keep going.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A novel set largely in the Texas/Oklahoma panhandle, this is another winner from Proulx.

Despite what feels like a slightly rushed "Hollywood" ending, this is classic stuff; sharply etched characters set in relief against a wide-open, largely inhospitable landscape.

So many of Proulx's characters struggle with change, and [book: That Old Ace in the Hole] is no exception.

She manages to stuff this book with an interesting history of the Texas Panhandle without bogging down the plot, and hints at the challenges soon to face this region.

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National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, Annie Proulx masterfully spins the hilarious tale of a young, mediocre businessman - - Bob Dollar working to scout out locations for Global Pork Farm hog operations in the Texas-Oklahoma panhandles. I've been to that country and some of those hog factories are there! (lj)
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Lots of very colorful characters, but not enough plot.
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