That Old Ace In The Hole

Version: Abridged
Author: Annie Proulx
Narrator: Arliss Howard
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published In: December 2002
# of Units: 6 CDs
Length: 6 hours, 30 minutes
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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.

Reviews (4)

That Old Ace in the Hole

Written by Laura Myerson on May 20th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

At first I thought the reader was lackluster, but once the many colorful characters were introduced, and he brought out each individual's personality with virtuosity, I was hooked. The subject matter -- the rape of the land and threats to communities posed by commercial exploitation and industrial farming -- is very current and important. I found Bob Dollar the least convincing of the characters, but cared for him nonetheless.

that old ace in the hole

Written by Nansy Mathews from Chevy Chase, MD on August 15th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Annie Proulx is one of my favorite writers and this book did not disappoint me. She is so good at character development. And she teaches me about places I have never been, but have great respect for after her brilliant descriptions. She enlarges my world and touches a deep need for the feeling of intimacy that comes from small town folks.

That Old Ace In the Hole

Written by Anonymous from Bellevue, WA on July 28th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

If you loved Shipping News you will love this.. She has a way of taking the most desolate and finding the human parts and making us care.. I loved this

That Old Ace In The Hole

Written by Gem SPECTOR on February 21st, 2005

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Weaving such characters as Hugh Doe, the bedwetting sheriff of Woollybucket, Betty Doke, the unscrupulous moneyperson for Global Pork Rinds, Advance Slaughter and his 10 daughters, his archenemy Francis Scott Keyster, LaVon Frump town gossip, land-owning brothers Ace and Tater, and the greedy Beautyroom family, into the life of feckless newcomer Bob Dollar, Proulx is in top form with this gut-bustin' funny saga of changing times in the Texas Panhandle.

Author Details

Author Details

Proulx, Annie

"Annie Proulx (b. 1935) was born in Norwich, Connecticut, the oldest of five sisters. Her mother was a painter and amateur naturalist whose family had lived in Connecticut since 1635 as farmers, millworkers, inventors, and artists. Her father was the vice president of a textile company, and the Proulx moved frequently - North Carolina, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island. Proulx attended Colby College, the University of Vermont, and Concordia University, earning a B.A. and an M.A., as well as passing her doctoral oral examinations in history.

In 1975, with few teaching jobs available, she abandoned work on her Ph.D. and began a perilous career in freelance journalism. In the 1980s she published six ""how-to"" books on a variety of subjects, including Plane and Make Your Own Fences and Gates, Walkways, Walls and Drives (1983). During this time she also raised her three sons from her third marriage while living in an isolated cabin in a rural town in Vermont.

Supporting herself and her sons on her meager income as a journalist, Proulx began to write stories for fun, creating one or two a year. Most of these early stories were written for a men's magazine about hunting and fishing, where her first editor told her that she had to publish under a masculine name, ""something like Joe or Zack, retrievers' names,"" she complained. They compromised on using her initials, E. A. Proulx, the E standing for her first name, Edna.

In 1983 and 1987, two of her stories were listed among the ""Distinguished Short Stories"" in Best American Short Stories. In 1988, Proulx published her first book of fiction, the nine stories set in northern Vermont constituting Heart Songs and Other Stories. Two of her three novels, Postcards (1992), and The Shipping News (1994), won prestigious awards?the PEN/Faulkner, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. "