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That Old Ace in the Hole
Join the Western Reading Discussion Group April 6 and April 13, 2006 for a lively debate on Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole
Critical reaction to the 2002 novel was somewhat mixed. Some of the book review opinions included:
- "...a novel with a message, and that's the worst kind of fiction." The protagonist, Bob Dollar is "a nice guy trapped in a pretentious novel" (Croke, 2002)
- "Proulx's West is a place of freaks and freak shows" (Graham, 2003)
- "the mess Proulx has created is a charming one" (Gross, 2003)
- "lyrically captures that Texas Panhandle landscape the way few writers have." (Ruffin, 2003)
- "a kind of Rake's Progress set in the Texas panhandle ... Funny, deft, and sharply told" (That old Ace, 2002)
The discussion on April 6 will focus on the first half of the book, through Chapter 12, "Rope Butt". The remainder of the book will be discussed the following week, April 13. Both meetings will be at 7 p.m. in the library's Blackburn Room.
Possible questions to consider for discussion include:
- What is your initial take on the meaning of the title?
- How or how well does Proulx describe the setting of the panhandle?
- Does she seem concerned with capturing the spirit of place?
- What sort of a fellow is Bob Dollar? Do you find him likable? Sympathetic? Realistic?
- What do you think Proulx is up to with character names?
- With what issues of contemporary relevance does Proulx seemed concerned?
Croke, B. (2002, December 15). Prize-winning novelist attempts panhandle parody, but stumbles. The Washington Times, B8. Retrieved February 8, 2006 from LexisNexis database.
Graham, D. (2003, October). Not-so-great plains. Texas Monthly, 31, 74-80. Retrieved February 8, 2006 from Academic Search Premier database.
Gross, S. (2003, January 6). Proulx's novel run's wild as it captures a region's history. BC Cycle. Retrieved February 8, 2006 from LexisNexis database.
Ruffin, P. (2003). That old ace in the hole. Texas Review, 24, 130-132. Retrieved February 8, 2006 from Academic Search Premier database.
That old Ace in the hole (book). (2002). Kirkus Reviews, 70, 1423. Retrieved March 10, 2006 from Academic Search Premier database.
Any questions? Ask a Librarian, or call us at 806/651-2215.