Read Work Song by Ivan Doig Online

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An award-winning and beloved novelist of the American West spins the further adventures of a favorite character, in one of his richest historical settings yet. "If America was a melting pot, Butte would be its boiling point," observes Morrie Morgan, the itinerant teacher, walking encyclopedia, and inveterate charmer last seen leaving a one-room schoolhouse in Marias CouleAn award-winning and beloved novelist of the American West spins the further adventures of a favorite character, in one of his richest historical settings yet. "If America was a melting pot, Butte would be its boiling point," observes Morrie Morgan, the itinerant teacher, walking encyclopedia, and inveterate charmer last seen leaving a one-room schoolhouse in Marias Coulee, the stage he stole in Ivan Doig's 2006 The Whistling Season. A decade later, Morrie is back in Montana, as the beguiling narrator of Work Song. Lured like so many others by "the richest hill on earth," Morrie steps off the train in Butte, copper-mining capital of the world, in its jittery heyday of 1919. But while riches elude Morrie, once again a colorful cast of local characters-and their dramas-seek him out: a look-alike, sound-alike pair of retired Welsh miners; a streak-of-lightning waif so skinny that he is dubbed Russian Famine; a pair of mining company goons; a comely landlady propitiously named Grace; and an eccentric boss at the public library, his whispered nickname a source of inexplicable terror. When Morrie crosses paths with a lively former student, now engaged to a fiery young union leader, he is caught up in the mounting clash between the iron-fisted mining company, radical "outside agitators," and the beleaguered miners. And as tensions above ground and below reach the explosion point, Morrie finds a unique way to give a voice to those who truly need one. Watch a Video...

Title : Work Song
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781594487620
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Work Song Reviews

  • Liz
    2019-05-06 21:02

    This book has been my solace for the last 10 days. During a busy and extremely stressful time when I wasn’t able to read nearly as much as I’d like, this book was the hot tea, soft pillow, and warm blanket at the end of each day. Work Song is the second book featuring Morrie Morgan whom I would describe as an eclectic mix of brilliance, humor, and kindness. In other words, he’s extremely entertaining. Upon his arrival in Butte MT, “The Richest Hill on Earth,” he finds himself caught up in circumstances beyond his control, all of which he handles in typical Morrie fashion. Although you can start with this book, I recommend checking out The Whistling Season for a wonderful story and an introduction to Morrie. Ivan Doig is an absolute delight. Sadly, he passed only last year and I do wish I’d discovered his work long before that.

  • Kiwi Begs2Differ✎
    2019-05-20 16:07

    Still in Montana, but this time Ivan Doig characters are copper miners and librarians, with only a lonesome ex cattle rancher. Not as strong as my previous Ivan Doig’s novels, but still very enjoyable and funny. I’ll take one of his novels over many new popular ones any day. 3 ½ stars.Even when they are closed, some books do not shut up. Why was this beautifully sewn leather edition, a collector’s item if I had ever seen one, spending its existence on a public shelf in a none too fastidious mining town? Once more I peered at those tiers on the mezzanine, and if I was not severely mistaken, many other handsome volumes sat there, beckoning, in bindings of royal reds and greens and blues and buffs. Curiosity got the better of me. Up the stairwell I went.And found myself in a book lover’s paradise.Being around him was like having the Grand Inquisitor grading one’s homework.“I knew you’d be back,” the gust of welcome nearly parted my hair.

  • Jackie
    2019-05-02 14:58

    Mr. Doig is a true talent. I love what he does with words. This little narrative of the "further adventures" of Morrie (The Whistling Season) had me from the second sentence: "The depot agent, an individual so slow I thought I might have to draw a line on the floor to see him move..."Morrie is such a fun character - as were the other ones populating this book. The pictures remain vivid in my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book - and it is so refreshing to read something so involving, yet simultaneously "squeaky clean". My hat is off, once again, in respect to Mr. Doig. Thanks for a well-spent afternoon.Some favorite passages:"I have always felt at home among books, so when the woman from the desk plopped my requested two in front of me, they seemed like old friends dropping by.""For as long as there are men and women, some things in life will best be done arm in arm, and strolling a flower garden is one.""No one seemed to pay particular attention to my unmoored state of mind; when that happens, it makes you wonder about your normal mien.""In the book of life we are chapters in one another's stories..."

  • Jim Leffert
    2019-05-05 18:10

    This sequel to Doig's wonderful novel, The Whistling Season, is a tasty morsel, a lagniappe rather than a substantial offering. Incongruously, Doig turns a tumultuous chapter in American history--the struggle between workingmen (miners) and big corporations (a mining company, in this instance) into the foundation for a charming, fanciful, semi-comedic romantic tale. Although the period is a bit earlier and the metal is silver, not copper, I highly recommend Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas for a less nostalgic historical account.The story takes place in Butte, Montana in 1919. Whistling Season's protagonist, Morrie Morgan, returns to Montana after 12 years in hope of making his fortune in this bustling copper mining city. Instead, he finds a roof over his head at Grace Faraday's boarding house, employment at a funeral parlor and subsequently, the public library, and pressure to take sides in a nasty battle between the Anaconda Mining Company and the unionized workers. Not since Pajama Game has a labor-management dispute served as the basis for a confection like this. No doubt, readers' heartbeats will accelerate as they approach the denouement that will answer the question, "Will the union succeed in coming up with a song to rally their members?"Enough said. Light entertainment about a heavy time by a charming author.

  • Sara
    2019-05-18 16:03

    Readers of Doig’s previous novel, The Whistling Season, will immediately recognize Morris Morgan, the quirky, knowledgeable schoolteacher who mentors young Paul until Paul’s father marries Morrie’s “sister,” Rose. After wandering through travels for several years, Morrie finds himself back in Montana, in the small mining town of Butte, Colorado. Morrie’s flamboyant speech carries over into a rich, descriptive narrative, beginning with a lost trunk and the search for lodging and gainful employment. The trunk remains lost, but Morrie finds himself boarding with the Widow Faraday and two retired miners named Griff and Hoop, all three of whom are ardent critics of the mining company, Anaconda, which runs the town. For work, Morrie starts out as a hired cryer for the local funeral home, but once word gets out about his extensive knowledge and book-learning, the crochety old librarian engages him in a literary debate, then hires him to manage the calendar and other assorted duties. And before long, things are astir in the town, with miners’ union meetings held in the basement of the library and Morrie drafted by a former student to help compose a work song for the miners protest.One of the most amusing parts of this novel is the interaction between Morrie and his boss, the self-appointed librarian, Samuel Sandison, who once owned a massive ranch, and still owns a beautiful collection of books which he has loaned to the library. In one chapter, Sandison gripes about dealing with library trustees — “I thought it was hard to keep track of a few thousand cows — that was nothing compared to this outfit” — and in another enforces the library code of conduct when the miners who are on strike are looking for somewhere to mingle.Though this is an excellent piece of historical fiction, I think that Doig’s previous novel has more widespread appeal. Morrie’s literature-strewn narrative can become tedious at times, especially when he is trading quotes with various characters. Griff and Hoop add levity and humor, and Morrie and Grace’s awkward courtship lightens the mood. Recommended for those who have read and enjoyed “The Whistling Season,” as well as those who don’t mind wading through the idiosyncrasies of an over-learned narrator.

  • Janice
    2019-05-04 16:55

    The setting is Butte, Montana, 1919, and the copper mining industry is in full swing; the rising labor union and the struggles to improve working conditions for the miners provides the plot for this sequel to The Whistling Season. However, even in this time of harsh conditions, this book is a light and pleasant read. Morrie Morrison is such a delightful character, and Doig's use of language is so eloquent, I love reading his books, meeting his characters, entering their world.

  • Jan
    2019-05-03 15:05

    It’s natural to compare Doig’s Work Song to the earlier The Whistling Season just because both feature Morrie Morgan as the bigger-than-life protagonist. OK. I absolutely savored Doig’s The Whistling Season (and I highly recommend it), but I wasn’t as disappointed as some with Work Song. In fact, I found it quite entertaining.Erudite, wildly clever, with a brain that holds an encyclopedia’s worth of information, Morrie narrates a story reflective of the brilliant mind which serves him so well in his short time in Butte, MT, in 1919. But Morrie is no ivory-tower scholar: he treasures fine literature, but his risky antics, in the pursuit of wealth, keep him on the run from certain unsavory elements.Lured by the wealthy copper industry in Butte and expecting to make a pretty buck there, Morrie arrives in the city to find tensions between the brutal Anaconda Mining Co. and the unionized workers, exacerbated by the Wobblies who try to lure the miners to their socialist views. Soon dissuaded from offering his services to Anaconda by his landlady and quirky fellow boarders, Morrie serendipitously lands a job at the Butte Public Library. He won’t earn his fortune there, but he will be in the company of the finest collection of classical literature in the West -- and of the cantankerous and unpredictable ex-rancher who serves as librarian. As a library worker myself, I greatly appreciated the descriptions of this fabulous library and its staff and patrons.Morrie makes his mark soon enough in Butte. Good-hearted and highly creative, he is called upon to help the miners, a skinny and hungry 12-year-old, a schoolteacher, the librarian’s wife, basically all the “good” people he meets. He’s not filling his pockets, as was his intention, and haunted by his past and with his brass knuckles handy, he can scarcely walk the streets without looking over his shoulder, making him more than a little “knuckle”-happy.But Morrie’s time here is by necessity short-lived and he must move on. We might say he leaves Butte in better shape than he found it, though just as the catchy work song created by the miners to inspire them during tough times won’t solve all their problems, Morrie’s generosity won’t be a permanent solution to those he helps either. Well, maybe with one exception.

  • Julie Christine
    2019-04-29 21:01

    Have you read The Great Brain series, John Dennis Fitzgerald's collection of Western Americana, set in Utah in the late 1800s? The based-loosely-on-the author's-childhood stories are told by young John Fitzgerald and recount the adventures, mishaps, misdemeanors, and rebellions of his precocious older brother, Tom. If you haven't, you are in for a whale of a treat. Although meant for adolescents, adults will appreciate the sophisticated themes Fitzgerald offers up: an Irish Catholic family at cultural odds in a Mormon-dominant community; inherent racism against Jews, Greeks, Native Americans; corporal punishment; ecclesiastical cruelty; creative financial management; and a bit of gentle sleuthing for fans of historical crime fiction. Why I am waxing on about a series I read more than thirty years ago and what does the Great Brain have to do with Ivan Doig and his post-WWI Montana? Well, here's the thing: These great authors tell stories of the American West, of towns bursting to life by bursting forth the mineral riches that lay beneath their shale and clay crust. They tell stories of communities dependent upon the strength of its law-abiding, God-fearing families. And with only twenty years separating their settings, turn-of-the-century Utah and 1919 Montana are cousins a scant generation apart. The Great Brain entertains with rollicking stories that have deeper, sharper, darker themes. Work Song has the potential for the same, as the community of Butte, MT faces post-war weariness, the flu epidemic, Bolshevik revolution, and copper mining disasters, but Doig never reaches past simple entertainment. It is a story with rounded edges and fluffernutter filling. After the beauty and power of The Whistling Season, set ten years prior and during which we are introduced to Morrie, Work Song is a let-down. It is a darling and endearing novel, but I venture to guess that thirty years on I'll still remember The Great Brain series and I'll struggle to recall Work Song

  • Luann
    2019-05-12 21:05

    I was so sad to come to the end of this! I really do love Doig's characters. Something about this one didn't grab me up quite as much as The Whistling Season, but I still enjoyed it very much. I will definitely read any other books Doig writes in the future with any of these same characters. I'll also have to check out some of Doig's other twelve books.While this book didn't grab me up quite as much, something to do with all the mining details, I think, there were many parts I really loved. Morrie becomes a librarian! I loved all of the library bits, and had to laugh when a librarian is described as a "bartender of information." Morrie is the narrator of this one, and I really enjoyed being in his head. I would be very interested in reading a book that told the story of The Whistling Season from Morrie's point of view. Morrie reminded me quite a lot of a Dick Francis hero in the way he solves problems. Also, people see something special in him that he doesn't really recognize in himself but that is clearly there. I highly recommend this for those who enjoy very well-written historical fiction, although I would suggest reading The Whistling Season first. It isn't strictly necessary, but gives a detailed understanding of Morrie's past and his character.Thanks so much to the GR giveaway program for introducing me to this wonderful author!Another quote that made me laugh: "Grade six somehow transforms obedient schoolchildren into creatures with the bravado of bandits and the restlessness of overage Sunday schoolers."

  • Alan
    2019-05-04 16:06

    I was excited to win this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. This is my third Ivan Doig novel and was surprised to see one of his books in the giveaway list; I'd only seen lesser known authors in the Giveaway section before.In 1920 in Butte, Montana during a labor strike armed men hired as guards for the Anaconda Copper Co. fired on striking miners killing one miner and wounding several others. Relations between the miner's union and the company had been strained for years before this armed assault.This novel takes place in Butte in 1919. Doig tells an entertaining story set in this historical context. It's a folksy story with great characters and was easy reading. The foreshadowing of increasing strain in the miners vs. mine owners relationship is the undertone, and Doig paints that background very well. The main character Morrie Morgan appeared before in The Whistling Season , another of Doig's great novels. (This book isn't really a sequel, more like a spinoff.)

  • Chris Witkowski
    2019-05-13 15:59

    If you loved The Whistling Season, then you'll enjoy Work Song. Set ten years later in 1919, we are once again treated to that delightful, charming, witty, and oh so intelligent Morrie Morgan, who has turned up in the mining town of Butte, Montana with nothing more than a leather satchel and the clothes on his back. Where The Whistling Season was an ode to public education, Work Song sings the praises of the public library system. Doig's descriptions of the fussy librarians, the stately and somber reading room, the pure joy felt upon opening a prized book, the myriad of groups who use the public meeting rooms, will delight any library lover. Along with learning the ropes of the library, Morrie is drawn into the drama unfolding in the town between the thousands of miners who toil in a dangerous, underpaid job and the Anaconda Mining Company, as they try to unionize and at the same time evade the machinations of the International Workers of the World, better known as the Wobblies. Throw in a hint of romance and you have an enjoyable, entertaining read.

  • Courtney Oppel
    2019-05-18 16:52

    As a long-time fan of Ivan Doig's books, I was rather disappointed in this tome, and honestly don't even recall whether I finished it. His earlier books--even as recent as the beautifully written Prairie Nocturne and The Whistling Season--are works of a master, with wonderful characters, believable dialogue, and a story line that keeps you wanting to read more after the book is done. But in Work Song his characters have devolved into people who love to hear themselves talk, and whose dialogue exists merely for the sake of making them sound clever. I even tried to give him another chance by reading his 2013 release, A Sweet Thunder, but found only the same, insufferable characters going through the same silly motions. Couldn't finish that one, either.

  • Brandon
    2019-05-17 18:16

    I've liked Doig since Dancing at the Rascal Fair, mostly for his research and ability to weave regional history with personal tales. So I guess it's ironic that the historic details in some of his later books are what bug me. It's not that I don't want them -- especially in the case of this book about boomtown-days Butte, they're why I chose to read -- but they're kinda clunky, slipped into the storyline with not a great deal of subtlety. I want Doig to do the library work for me, but I don't want to think about him doing it. Still, it did advance my understanding of one of the West's most curious and complex places. As usual, I'm thinking of going to Butte for St. Patrick's Day.

  • Chrissie
    2019-05-06 19:50

    IF you love cozy mysteries, read this. It is extremely cute. You will love it. I have realized that I should stop trying to like what so many others like and just accept who I am. My two star rating ONLY reflects my personal reaction and is in no way a criticism of the book. The book is very, very good for those who want a cozy mystery with fun characters, a bit of erudition and some love thrown in too.

  • Cami Putnam
    2019-05-09 19:57

    This was a toss up between a 3 and a 4. It was a little slower paced and the character seem to show a lack of emotion for all that he had been through and was experiencing. I did like it though. My dad grew up in Anaconda and he Father was a machinist for the mine so I really enjoyed listening about the area and what it might have been like to live in the town and be a part of that mining life.

  • Jan
    2019-05-10 20:49

    Lots of fun to find old friends in books, and this was another chance to become better acquainted with Morris. Glad I read it. Not as rich as Doig's others, but a good read. Always love Doig's language and characters.

  • Linda Chambers
    2019-04-24 15:10

    Another book with Morrie from The Whistling Season as a main character. I enjoy him and really enjoy Ivan Doig's writing.

  • Emma Jane
    2019-05-19 18:12

    WOWZA WOWZA. I am in AWE of Ivan Doig's writing genius. I am in awe of his penchant for coming up with wild, wacky storylines that are so unbelievably far-fetched they actually make sense. This is such a weird book. So was The Whistling Season, the first book in this series which I read last year. That one caught me way off-guard; a year later, I was prepared to jump back into the world of Morrie Morgan and witness more of his far-fetched adventures. Work Song was not quite as monumental or engrossing as The Whistling Season, in my opinion, but it did not disappoint as a sequel. Told in first-person from Morrie's highly entertaining perspective, this book tells the next chapter of his life as he makes a new start in the mining city of Butte, Montana -- known as "The Richest Hill on Earth". The whole thing sings with his intellectual insights and humorous escapades. Even though I was really mad at him by the end of the last book, I think I came to understand him better in this one and realized how much I REALLY love this guy. Morrie Morgan may be one of the most fascinating characters in modern literature. The man is a walking encyclopedia; he's an absolute GENIUS (which obviously means Ivan Doig is a genius for creating him). I would read any book about Morrie; he could make any situation interesting. Besides our friend Morrie, the pages buzz with a whole clan of supporting characters, each with their own eccentricities; Samuel Sandison, the moody honcho of the Butte library; Barbara -- 'Rabrab' -- Rellis, one of Morrie's former sixth grade students who is now a teacher herself; Jared Evans, her high-spirited fiance; Grace Faraday, the pleasant proprietress of the boarding house where Morrie Stays; Griff and Hoop the two (very Welsh) retired miners who still do their part for the work force of Butte; and Russian Famine, a scrawny orphan whom Morrie befriends. In all I liked The Whistling Season better, but still, this one deserves a five-star rating. It's quite a book. If I ever come across an Ivan Doig book that doesn't warrant a five-star rating, I'll let you know. :-)

  • Reid
    2019-04-24 15:16

    I have a deep affection for Ivan Doig. His is a heartfelt Western landscape filled with credible, fascinating people. True, some of his characters speak in a rather stiff, formal way that I do not find entirely natural, but I am under the impression that this is his intent, to place us at one remove from pure naturalism, to make us aware of the meta nature of story. Still, quite often he manages to pull off a beautiful and moving story set in a vast, beautiful landscape.I enjoyed Whistling Season, the precursor to this book, quite a bit, and the delightful protagonist of both, Morris Morgan. He is an intelligent, bookish, capable, frank man with a shadowy past. But in this volume, Doig seems to get sidetracked by his fascination with the songs of the title, those that workers sing while working or to preserve unity while on strike. It's an interesting topic, sure, and there are many hundreds of delightful examples, though he actually uses none of the best of this genre as models here. And as subject matter for the final third or so of the book, they don't really hold up all that well.Still, this is a delightful read, and a nice continuation of the story of one of his best characters. Well worth a read, and stands alone if you have not read Whistling Season, though if you are going to read only one or the other, you should probably choose the first.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-08 17:00

    Although I have not read the first in this series (Whistling Season) I felt like this book stood on its own just fine. I found it fascinating to read about Butte, still a wild west type town even after WWI. It was not clear to me even at the end that we were meant to take sides. The good guys were clearly the miners, but not necessarily their union. I thought the author did a great job presenting all the sides and the challenges using one main character who does not have all the information everyone else has. I followed him around and worried about him and was really interested to see where he ended up. I really liked the characters. I think my favorite minor (tee-hee) characters were Hoop and Griff. Morrie is entertaining and pedantic and charming, yet not infallible. I wanted to get to know Grace a little better. I was kind of surprised by the end - not shocked, but a little surprised.I'm giving this 3.5 stars because while I enjoyed it and would recommend it, I wasn't totally enthralled. I will go back and read Whistling Season for sure.

  • Cornmaven
    2019-04-26 15:55

    Another fine piece of writing from Doig, featuring Morrie Morgan, one of the unforgettable characters from The Whistling Season.Doig gives the reader another issue about choice, this time involving big business-labor relations, the environmental impacts of mining, and of all things, the 1919 Black Sox scandal. I love the way Doig writes, and this time, with Morgan as the narrator, his style is a bit more free wheeling than that of Paul Milliron. Morgan is a great character, and I enjoyed every bit of the story. But most all, my heart sang that Doig set much of the tale within a library, and acknowledged his debt to many librarians at the end.Doig seems to never forget to include literary references, and Work Song has plenty!

  • Kathleen Payne
    2019-05-14 14:03

    I have visited Butte, Montana on a car trip a few years ago. In looking around the town and stopping at few stores, I got the clear impression that this is a town that is proud of it's heritage. Very proud! Then I read Ivan Doig's book "Work Song" and it takes place in Butte Montana during the 1920's and the hey-dey of copper mining with Anaconda Copper Mining Company. The main character showed up from his previous book, "The Whistling Season", and I was just delighted to follow Morrie Morgan's next adventure in life. It was an enchanting tale, woven in with the history of the miner's strife and strikes. When I shut the book after the last page, I immediately thought "what comes next?" Yes - "Secret Thunder"! It's on order and coming in the mail this week!

  • Steven Howes
    2019-05-19 16:07

    This book starts off a bit slower than some of the author's earlier works but it turns out to be a wonderful story. It is a sequel to The Whistling Season, one of my favorite books. The story takes place in Butte, Montana in 1919 amid labor strife between miners and the Anaconda Company. Throw in a cantankerous old librarian with a dubious past and the IWW (Wobblies) and the results are a great book. Although this book stands alone, I would recommend reading The Whistling Season first so one can get a true picture of the main character, Morris Morgan.

  • Jenny Stringham
    2019-05-18 18:17

    It was fun to read a book narrated by a favorite character in the first book of the series. Ivan Doig's books make for a great read. I also enjoyed reading the history of Butte, Montana entwined through out.

  • Schuyler Wallace
    2019-05-21 17:58

    To say that Ivan Doig was a great “Western” writer, as is often done, seems a slight to me. He was, in fact, a great writer who lived and wrote in the West but he was much more. His work is literary genius regardless of the genre and if there’s doubt, read “Work Song.”Doig tells us of an itinerate man arriving in Butte, Montana, needing a job. Morrie Morgan has no money, his belongings are lost, and he has nothing but his initiative to exist on. First he finds work at a mortuary as “crier” at the numerous wakes that are held in a town known for the number of people who die there. Then he goes to work at a library under the directions of an eccentric bibliophile who stocks the library shelves with his own collection of valuable old books.But wait, that’s only part of the story. Butte is the copper mining capital of the world and, in 1919, the world of mining featured greedy owners, ferocious labor organizers, and beat down miners who exhibited their pluck with determination, neither buying the guile of the men in the copper towers, nor accepting the equally disingenuous bluster of the labor goons. Morgan falls into the camp of the miners, trying to help find a justice that will smooth their hardscrabble lives.Doig, who died in 2015, espoused the belief that quality writers can not only ground their work in a specific area and language, but can, at the same time, write about life. That’s why his sixteen books all resonate with everyday happenings in the West where he lived, while depicting the broader picture of life in general with such clarity. Using Morris as his narrator to bridge the gap between an unbending mining company, outside agitators, and victimized miners is a brilliant act of characterization that reflects his conviction.Characterization is the strong point of the novel, although Doig didn’t overload the reader with a cast of thousands. He certainly had them available but, instead, we meet a couple of retired plucky miners, a skinny waif, a pair of company goons, an attractive landlady, the peculiar boss at a remarkable library, and a former student who is now a sage union leader. These few brilliantly depicted characters were all Doig needed to get his story told. He never even brought a company executive from the copper tower for us to meet. Doig will be missed but his work lives on. Just pick any book he has written and settle in for an insightful and enjoyable read. His legacy will exist because of his formable talent and skill as a marvelous storyteller.

  • C
    2019-05-08 14:51

    Second book in the Morrie Morgan series. We take up with Morrie Morgan 10 years later in 1919, after he leaves Maria's Cooley back in Montana, but now in the copper mining city of Butte. He is newly arrived and just found accommodations in the home of Grace Faraday, a widow with two other boarders, Griff and Hoop- retired miners and practically twin Welshmen.Morrie's first job is with the undertaker. He is a crier at Irish funerals. Alas, his drinking was not welcome, and he gratefully accepted a job at the local library where he did anything requested by the head librarian, including bookkeeping, inventory of the librarians best personal collection of first edition and beautifully bound books, calendar of public meetings etc.He meets an old student Rab Rab and her fiancé, Jared. Jared is the union head and agrees to help them with a look at the mining companies books, and the invention of a miners rallying song.Along the way he falls for his landlady and tries to avoid the two men hired by the mining company to rid the town of infiltrating union sympathizers. Sandi Sanderson, the head librarian, turns out to be the one who comes up with the minors work song, for himself and his loss of the triple S cattle ranch, as well as for the minors.Morrie has made a shrewd bet on the World Series and fears that "Chicago" will come looking for him. So he spreads the wealth to Grace, famine, Rab Rab and the miners union before he marries Grace and takes off for a new adventure.

  • Diane
    2019-05-23 15:10

    This was a follow up book to Ivan Doig's The Whistling Season. One of the past characters, Morrie and also Rabrab, appears 10 years later in Work Song. It is the early 1900's and Morrie has now recreated himself yet again to become one of the chief librarians in the copper mining town of Butte Montana. Staying at a boarding house, he learns from two retired miners, the woes of the current miners. The miners are low paid and unsafe conditions have claimed many lives. Despite his desire to stay below the radar and figure out a way to make some quick bucks, he is slowly drawn into full scale involvement to work with the miner's union members to create a "work song". The song is meant to unify all the different nationalities and sectors of the miners. A strike is looming and the Anaconda Mining bosses are doing everything they can to bust the union and avoid the strike. Morrie also has a love interest in the story that makes his character more real and easier to like. Again, Doig does not disappoint! I love reading his tales and am always drawn in to his quirky characters.

  • Pamela
    2019-05-20 15:05

    What a great book to start off 2018. My enjoyment wasn't solely based on the fact the main character Morgan gets a job in the town's library. And since he's working there, literary references abound in this book, although it is clear that Morgan is a walking encyclopedia. Starting anew in Butte, Montana Morgan hopes to find his fortune in this mining town where he's certain fortunes are to be made. And no the library doesn't do it for him, although it is steady work.The exquisite wording and phrasing was the main source of my pleasure in this book, additionally it is a satisfying tale all around. I've heard good things about Doig and this was the first book I read by him and by no means will be my last. Actually it's a second book in a series, I started in the middle. Oops! Well it didn't make me lost or unsure what was going on, all backstory that was important was covered, this book does just fine as a stand alone novel. I actually own the first book, again oops. Reading that one will definitely be in the near future.

  • Lee
    2019-05-09 14:15

    Set in Butte, Montana in 1919, Work Song (2010) is Ivan Doig's story of Morrie's return to Butte and his new adventures in that rough and tumble place. Mines are working all shifts, the Anaconda Company smelter belches out toxins, and both ethnic and labor groups rub shoulders in an uncomfortable dance of dominance and self-determination. If you recall Morrie from Doig's earlier novel, Whistling Season, you'll not be surprised by his mix of good and bad luck, and the constant shadow of his past. He finds work in the Butte Public Library where is penchant for classic literature and arcane speech seems less out of place than it would in the mines. He meets some interesting people, and finds himself drawn to a few of them. If you haven't read the earlier book, don't sweat it; Work Song stands on its own merits. That said, I found the current title a bit tedious and just couldn't get into it very quickly.

  • viemag
    2019-04-23 13:52

    Work Song by Ivan Doig is the 2nd book in Doig's trilogy featuring Morrie Morgan. When readers last saw Morrie he was leaving Marias Coulee and promised to never return. 10 years later he has returned to Montana but not to Marias Coulee but to Butte, home of the Anaconda Copper Mine. More takes up residence in a rooming house run by a miner's widow and looks for work. He finds a job in the public library and one day during story hour meets his former student, Rabrab. Rabrab is now a teacher and engaged to a union organizer. And of course the rest is a delightful story. Doig gives his readers a look at life in Butte and as a mine worker during a time when there was no OSHA to protect the miners. The story has many delightful characters and twists. And of course leaves the reader looking for more. Thankfully Doig wrote one more book featuring Morrie.