RIDE WITH ME, MARIAH MONTANA by Ivan Doig

RIDE WITH ME, MARIAH MONTANA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The conclusion to Doig's Montana trilogy centered on the McCaskill family: Dancing at the Rascal Fair was set in the homesteading era, English Creek during the Depression. Here, a contemporary picaresque odyssey through Montana's centennial moves mostly on father-daughter aggravation and expertly done (and well-researched) landscapes. Jake McCaskill, at 65, has lost his wife Marcella to cancer. His daughter Mariah, a photographer with ""a chance that'll never come again,"" invites him to travel in a Winnebago with her and ex-husband Riley, an impulsive, eccentric journalist, as they explore Montana h la Charles Kuralt. In a sometimes shrill, sometimes nostalgic tone, Jake narrates the ensuing journey to publication and to love. Jake has been grieving, but in the Winnebago he witnesses daughter and son-in-law seemingly fall in love again as they endlessly argue over destination, story angle, and almost everything else. We get a lot of McCaskill family history, a Blue Highways-like sampling of Montana's old geezers, grizzlies, mining country, and ""tree grit""; and, as Mariah looks for the right pictures and Riley builds a following that is more than regional, Jake does in fact move forward again, with the help of a heart-to-heart with Leona, Riley's mother and a widow herself. Riley proposes again to Mariah and asks her to accompany him to California, where a big paper has made him an offer. Mariah wavers but finally realizes that ""you and I love just some of each other."" So things go, in a book where the narrator wisely realizes that ""Enumerating is one thing and making it all add up is another."" A paean to Montana and frontiersmanship--but also a casually artful, and triumphant, end to Doig's trilogy.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1990
Publisher: Atheneum