That Old Ace in the Hole

That Old Ace in the Hole

by Annie Proulx
3.4 13

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That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole is told through the eyes of Bob Dollar, a young Denver man tryingto make good in a bad world. Dollar is out of college but aimless, when he takes a job with Global Pork Rind -- his task to locate big spreads of land in the Texas and Oklahoma panahandles that can be purchased by the corporation and converted to hog farms.
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 witnessed first hand tornadoes, dust storms, and 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 Café, 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, The Old Ace in the Hole tracks the vast waves of change that have shaped the American landscape and the character over the past century. In Bob Dollar, Proulx has created one of the most irresistible characters in contemporary fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416588924
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 12/01/2007
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 375,223
File size: 510 KB

About the Author

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is Barkskins. She lives in Seattle.


LaBarge, Wyoming

Date of Birth:

August 22, 1935

Place of Birth:

Norwich, Connecticut


Attended Colby College in the 1950s. B.A., University of Vermont, 1969; M.A., Sir George Williams University, 1973

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That Old Ace in the Hole 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent story. It's so good I've reread it several times. Very well written, in the same style as The Shipping News. The negative customer reviews seem very childish. Perhaps they expect the action of a comic book and have no interest in descriptions. Too bad, for them, this book has no pictures. Just words.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ace isn't as good as Proulx's other novels, but it is still pretty good indeed. Proulx is deft at description and character development. If you enjoy plot, however, pick up something else -- like Larry McMurtry as another reviewer above suggests. Indeed, I figured out the plot at a point in the first twenty pages. That said, her characters here are not as well defined as Shipping News or Postcards. Nor is the sense of 'place.' Ace felt like a good draft of the novel I would expect of Proulx, but not quite finished. However, that is comparing Proulx to Proulx. Comparing Proulx to most modern authors and she still remains among the best at writing style, syntax, character development and place description.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hd91364 More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed The Shipping News. This book I did not. I found it to be slow and tedious. Nothing happened. but, then, if nothing is going to happen in a book, it may as well be in rural Texas, I suppose. I always say life is too short to read bad books. This is a good few hours of my book reading life gone and never to be retrieved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carlena More than 1 year ago
Shipping News was genius. That Old Ace in the Hole (like the title) didn't make the grade. The sentences were extremely overwritten, too embellished, which made it a chore to read. My mind kept wandering off the page, it wasn't riveting, kind of wandered from character to character. Proulx definitely does her research and her characters are well described but it dulls down the plot and becomes boring once you're into the second chapter. I didn't finish it, too much work. I will stick to her short stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because I live in Texas, I looked forward to more of Annie Proulx's beautifully descriptive writing. I thoroughly enjoyed her character development in Shipping News. Unfortunately, I found Ms. Proulx's writing in That Old Ace in the Hole to be more like a black hole -- painfully plodding and dull. Despite my determined fortitude, it seems that the end will never come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry, but I either just plain don't like Annie Proulx's writing or just don't 'get' it. Her characters are overdrawn losers with ridiculous names (Tambourine Bapp? Come ON!) who are not the least bit believable (I LIVE in Texas -- I've never met anyone even remotely like these folks). The one thing Proulx did manage to capture by way of her sleep-inducing prose, was the totally dismal nature of scenery and life in West Texas. My advice -- don't waste your time. Read Larry McMurtry instead.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this story with it's wonderful descriptions of the Texas landscape and the colorful and caring characters. The reader of the novel, Arliss Howard is exceptional and brings the characters to life. If there is an award for the readers of books on tape, he should get the prize.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Arliss Howard, who directed and starred in "Big Bad Love" (2002), gives a deft and able reading to Annie Proulx's latest tale set in the great southwest, the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. Howard's take on the slight twang and pacing of voices native to this part of the world is on target. A Pulitzer Prize winner for "The Shipping News," novelist Proulx can paint a character inside and out with the best of them. Such is the case with our narrator, Bob Dollar, whose parents dropped him on a Colorado doorstep when he was 8-years-old. He grows into manhood a bit unfocused and unchallenged. Bob does land a paying job with Global Pork Rind, a company that dispatches him to the hinterlands in search of large sections of land, ranches, that can be bought by Global Pork and converted to hog farms. He is cautioned that most take a dim view of hog raisers for neighbors so he must be very circumspect in looking around. He comes upon Woolybucket, Texas (don't you love that name? Welcome to Woolybucket! But, I digress. No five, four, three, two or even one star motels there, so he rents a dilapidated bunkhouse from a widow, LaVon Fronk, and hires out to Cy Frease, proud proprietor of the Old Dog Café. There's a lot to be learned for Bob - beyond the historical documents that LaVon has stashed in her house. The locals aren't dweebs or ineffectuals; they're a proud lot who want to hold on to their land no matter what. Does Bob get their land or does their land get to Bob? Listen to this tale rich in portraits of working class America and see.