That Old Ace in the Hole
By Annie Proulx
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9780684813073, 384pp.)
Publication Date: December 10, 2002
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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 survived tornadoes and dust storms, and witnessed firsthand 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 Cafe, 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, "That Old Ace in the Hole" tracks the vast waves of change that have shaped the American landscape and character over the past century -- and in Bob Dollar, Proulx has created one of the most irresistible characters in contemporary fiction.