Prairie Nocturne

Prairie Nocturne

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
Teaching voice lessons to the privileged members of society during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, Susan Duff is hired by a man who once harbored political ambitions to teach his African American chauffeur how to sing.

Blackwell North Amer
Susan Duff - the bossy, indomitable schoolgirl with a silver voice from the pages of Doig's most popular work, Dancing at the Rascal Fair - has reached middle age alone, teaching voice lessons to the progeny of Helena's high society. Wesley Williamson - business scion of a cattle-empire family - has fallen from the heights of gubernatorial aspirations, forced out of a public career by political foes who uncovered his love affair with Susan. Years later, Susan is taken off guard when Wes arrives at her door with an unusual request: to train his chauffeur, Monty, in the ways of voice and performance.
Prairie Nocturne is the saga of these three people and their interlocked destinies. Monty is distantly known to Susan from their childhoods in the Two Medicine country, yet an enforced stranger because of the racial divide. When she realizes he possesses a singing voice of rare splendor, Susan joins Wes's Pygmalion-like project to launch Monty on a performing career - only to find the full force of the Ku Klux Klan in their way. As Monty and Susan overcome treacherous obstacles, Wes's mysterious motives unsettle everyone, including himself, and the trio's crossed fates form a deeply longitudinal novel that raises everlasting questions of allegiance, the grip of the past, and the costs of career and passion.

Baker
& Taylor

Teaching voice lessons to the privileged members of society during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, Susan Duff is hired by a man who once harbored political ambitions to teach his African-American chauffeur how to sing and perform. By the author of Dancing at the Rascal Fair. 60,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2003
ISBN: 9780743201353
0743201353
Branch Call Number: F DOI
Characteristics: 371 p. ; 24 cm

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floy
Dec 14, 2010

Although I loved Ivan Doig’s book Winter Brothers, I was disappointed in this one. I read it to the end but I was disappointed.

At times the writing was almost like a romance novel. And what is up with constantly describing the color of every person of color in the book? What difference does it make that someone’s skin is the color of a saddle, or a mahogany dresser, or coffee?? The white people’s skins are not described (with one exception - when the main character describes herself as a soda cracker while her student is a graham cracker – arrgh!).

Although I was happy how the book turned out, I don’t think it was quite believable. The chemistry was lacking.

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