Prairie Nocturne - Ivan Doig Ivan Doig has a way with words. He doesn't say anything straight. Some examples from this book:

"No one even went near 'good morning'."
"A community of pigeons left off in panic."
"The adversary? The other side of the spinning coin of fate."
Ku Klux Klan are "those loonies in their bedsheets".
"Alone isn't spelled the same as lonely."
He had "a high stomach on the style of a pigeon."
Cowboys are those that are "perpetually starved for women".

I like this kind of writing. It is kind of sophisticate, and it keeps your mind twirling. :0)

Even though I like the writing style, I will only give this book two stars. Other books by the writer are better. Read Dancing at the Rascal Fair, This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind or The Whistling Season instead. Prairie Nocturne has characters that you meet in Dancing at the Rascal Fair, and in that one the plot, the story, is more gripping. In fact if you have not read that book you will miss much of the enjoyment that can be drawn from this book even though it is not a sequel.

This book is about characters that you already know. It is about the Ku Klux Klan, racial discrimination and about music(spirituals and jazz), more specifically the teaching of music. I never came to care for the characters. The plot line flips between past events before and during the first world war and the 1920s. Rather than giving a better understanding of the characters, it only disrupts the flow of the novel and makes it confusing. In fact I believe this further increased my dislike of the main character Susan.

And the ending may be satisfying to others since it does make you feel good, but the book just sort of stops. The plot offers no real surprises. No, you will do better by reading another of Ivan Doig's books. Usually he depicts teachers just wonderfully, they are so alive and enthused with their calling; here Susan falls flat. You can see: I do not like Susan.

ETA : the narration of the audiobook by Scott Sowers is special in that the songs are not read but sung.