Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig introduces us to Donal at a very young age setting off on a bus adventure from his home with his grandmother near Glacier National Park to his great aunt’s house in Wisconsin. He is not happy about it. He is a storyteller. He has lots of stories he tells his fellow travellers. They are all different and they are all lies. He has quite the imagination. When he arrives at his grandmother’s sister’s town in Wisconsin, Donny thinks his Aunt Kate Smith is the famous singer. Herman, her second husband serves Donny well in his new temporary home. Herman and Kate have marital problems and Herman joins Donny on his forced exile from Wisconsin by Kate. They both do a Huck Finn and light out for the territory. As Herman says they are somewhere south of the moon and north of Hell.
Dogs appear in this novel as well, since Donny and then Herman spend time on the dog bus, Greyhound, tom get around on their journeys. One trick Herman teaches Donny is Fingerspitzengefühl, using the finger to select a destination for a trip, something I often do. The old ore sailor and the young cowpoke head West on a dog bus. Adventures abound as they enjoy a powwow, Yellowstone, and haying. It is a coming of age story for more than a boy. It is about compromises and deals and big ideas and living a dream.
Doig lived his dream of being a writer and a darn good one. Many will miss his stories. Doig died in April 2015.