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ISBN:0701139404
Author: Thomas Savage
ISBN13: 978-0701139407
Title: The Power of the Dog
Format: azw lrf lit lrf
ePUB size: 1672 kb
FB2 size: 1166 kb
DJVU size: 1880 kb
Language: English
Category: British and Irish
Publisher: Chatto and Windus (October 1, 1984)
Pages: 288

The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage



Thomas Savage's tone grows increasingly dark through the careful plotting of this story. Though not overtly chilling in a relentless sense, there are moments so meticululously crafted that Savage is able to raise the short hairs on the back of the reader's neck. In viewing the story of these two brothers one cannot help but think of Cain and Abel. Yet Phil emerges even more calculated in his callous view of life. It is Rose's marriage to George that propels the plot of The Power of the Dog. Phil sets out to destroy the marriage. George, oblivious to Phil's tactics, is unaware that Phil secretly torments Rose to the point of keeping her in a constant state of terror.

By that measure, Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel The Power of the Dog, set on a Montana ranch some time in the 1920s, is a great, and greatly neglected, work of art, because it contains one of the most complex and fully realized, if utterly loathsome, characters I have ever encountered in a work of fiction. The fate that awaits Phil in this book will be welcomed by most readers, but doubly so because Thomas Savage (who died recently, but lived long enough to see The Power of the Dog reissued in paperback in 2001) managed to create a character in the first place who was so multi-faceted, self-contradictory and true to the magnificent strangeness of human. nature that readers will actually care whether he lives or dies. The Power of the Dog is an unforgettable book precisely because Phil Burbank is an unforgettably complex character.

The Power of the Dog was named "the year's best novel. by the San Francisco Chronicle. It is the tale of two bachelor ranchers and the lovely widow who shifts the precarious balance of their lives. A superb storyteller, Savage spins a dramatic counterpoint of rustic tranquility and the struggle for survival. Contact me: info19782l.

Thomas Savage examines masculinity from the perspective of a deeply homophobic, but closeted, rancher in 1920s Montana in this complex and underappreciated classic. She greeted George and Phil pleasantly enough, so her suicide husband mustn’t have tipped his hand about being taken by the scruff of the neck. Well, hell, what man would dare tell a woman a shameful thing like that? She had got out white napkins for each place, quite an experience, Phil thought, for the cowhands who had about as much use for napkins as for finger bowls. Worth the price of admission to see what the fellows did with them.

I had never heard of Thomas Savage up until a month or two ago. The Power of the Dog is indeed powerful stuff though. Set in Montana ranching country in the 1920s, it deals with subjects that would have been near-verboten back then: homosexuality and pedophilia are only hinted at throughout much of Savage's book, but finally come out into the open in the final explosive chapters. The two rancher brothers, Phil and George Burbank, are two of the most fully realized characters in western fiction in the past fifty years. It would be easy to see this story as a kind of Cain and Abel parable,. I had never heard of Thomas Savage up until a month or two ago.

Thomas Savage is a writer of real consequence. - Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World.

Savage is brilliant on men and women alike in his keenly-observed psychological drama. Wednesday 24 February 2016 21:46.

Optimistically billed as the next Stoner, this 1967 reissue is in fact the better novel: Savage has constructed, against scenery vast and hostile to individual hope, a rich and challenging psychodrama, based on brilliant characterisation – particularly of Rose, for whom living becomes so narrow that she brooded nights on what to wear the next day, and the monstrous Phil. With its echoes of East of Eden and Brokeback Mountain, this satisfyingly complex story deserves another shot at rounding up public admiration. we’re asking readers to make a new year contribution in support of The Guardian’s independent journalism. More people are reading our independent, investigative reporting than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our reporting as open as we can.

I discovered Thomas Savage’s ‘The Power of the Dog‘ by accident while browsing at the bookshop sometime back. Something pulled me and I got the book. Then it lay on my bookshelf for a few months. Then last week it started calling me and I had to take it out and read it. The story told in the book goes like this. Phil and George are two brothers. They own a ranch together, are rich, but lead a simple life. By no stretch of imagination was this evidence of homosexuality. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe when the book came out Thomas Savage gave an interview on what the story was about and maybe he said that it was about repressed homosexuality. I liked ‘The Power of the Dog‘ though I wouldn’t call it one of my favourite books of the year. It was out of print for many years and it was rediscovered in the early 2000s. I am glad it came back in print and I am glad I read it.

Not to be confused with Don Winslow’s book of the same name, this powerful study of revenge and repressed emotion is too little-known and unlikely to turn up on anybody’s list of classic crime fiction. I’m not familiar with Thomas Savage or THE POWER OF THE DOG (although I did read the Don Winslow novel of the same name). I’ll have to track down a copy.

Reviews: 7
skyjettttt
Written in 1968, Thomas Savage's novel examines the lives of two brothers in 1925 who have spent most of their lives together on a Montana ranch. Phil Burbank is the good-looking one, quick to learn, well-read and well-spoken, a college graduate, and who has a mean streak that he uses to manipulate others and get his way. George is younger, kind-hearted, slower to get his words out, a college drop-out, somewhat stocky and certainly less charismatic than Phil. Phil likes to tease George in his mean way and his pet name for his brother is 'fatso'. They have shared the same bedroom since childhood and Phil is shocked when George marries and brings his wife home.

George's wife, Rose, has been widowed since her husband committed suicide. Her love for George is genuine but Phil is convinced that she is a conniving, money grubbing low-life who married George only for his money. The Burbank family is very rich, coming from old Boston money which they've multiplied by having the most successful ranch in their part of the state. The Burbanks hobnob with the Governor and are big donors to many charities. Phil has made it his mission to make Rose feel as uncomfortable and unwelcome as is possible. He tries to avoid Rose and to not speak to her at all. Her stress over this creates headaches and eventually drives her to drink.

Rose's son Peter doesn't live with her for most of the year. Because he is attending school, he has a room in town. A somewhat strange and effeminate child, he is very intelligent and wants to become a physician, following in his dead father's footsteps. When he does end up spending a summer on the ranch, a very strange dynamic begins to form between Phil and him.

This novel tackles the subjects of repressed homosexuality, anti-semitism, and alcoholism, all somewhat edgy topics for its time. Phil is a repressed homosexual who, at first, attempts to create as much animosity towards Peter as he can. He mimics Peter to the ranch hands and they whistle at him as they would at a woman.

Thomas Savage, an unknown writer to me until now, has created a brilliant psychological character study of a man whose demons pervade every aspect of his life. On the surface, Phil is a 'man's man', the one who ranchers emulate and who talks frequently about his hero, Bronco Henry, a true cowboy. However, Phil's repression creates a spew of hate towards anyone who thwarts his own twisted self-perception.

Savage explores deep moral ravines and the ravages of self-hate. He is a writer that I wish I'd known about sooner and who deserves a place with the great writers of the west with whom I'm familiar - Stegner, McCormac, Proulx, and McMurtry. There is a wonderful afterwards by Annie Proulx in the edition I have which closely examines Savage's themes and characters.
Beardana
I had never heard of Thomas Savage up until a month or two ago. The Power of the Dog is indeed powerful stuff though. Set in Montana ranching country in the 1920s, it deals with subjects that would have been near-verboten back then: homosexuality and pedophilia are only hinted at throughout much of Savage's book, but finally come out into the open in the final explosive chapters. The two rancher brothers, Phil and George Burbank, are two of the most fully realized characters in western fiction in the past fifty years. It would be easy to see this story as a kind of Cain and Abel parable, but it's a bit more complicated than that. As the tale progresses, you learn, bit by bit, how Phil may have come to be the way he is. While not wholly evil, he comes damn close. George, on the other hand, seems a completely sympathetic sort, albeit an unlikely hero with his slow and careful ways. The Power of the Dog is quite simply and excellent book, enough so that I will be looking for more of Savage's work. He wrote more than a dozen novels in a career that spanned over fifty years. Savage died in 2003 at the age of 88. I for one am happy that his work has been reintroduced to new generations of readers. Writer Annie Proulx has added a wonderful Afterword to this 2001 edition of the book that provides an abbreviated primer on the life and work of Thomas Savage. - Tim Bazzett, author of the Reed City Boy trilogy
Friert
Originally published in 1967 by Little Brown, this reissue has all the qualities of first-rate literary fiction, and what Annie Proulx calls in her afterword, "... a work of literary art." Then why is Thomas Savage not a big name on the literary landscape, like Hemmingway, Faulkner, or the contemporaries like Cormac McCarthy or Proulx herself? I had to read Proulx's afterword to realize why readers in 1967 weren't coaxed into buying Savage's novel. There's no doubt in my mind that it was a review blitz that damned its progress, and though Proulx's afterword comes highly in praise, I fear that one of her earlier points could still have the same effect even today. In THE POWER OF THE DOG, set in the 1920's on a Montana ranch, brothers and polar opposites, Phil and George Burbank, share the duties of managing one of the wealthiest ranching operations in the state. Though powerful and envied by many, the Burbanks battle their own form of intrapersonal loneliness. George -- the younger of the two, a stocky, polite and quiet type, who doesn't mind a suit of clothes and can often be seen driving his Reo automobile -- is forever holding back the manipulating ways of Phil, a lean and rugged cowboy who rarely changes his work clothes, bathes once a month (and not at all in the wintertime), and never wears gloves of any kind for any reason. The only force that could ever bring the relationship face to face is undoubtedly a woman, but contrary to most plots, this woman is loved by one, and despised by the other. Phil humiliates the woman's husband publicly to the point where he commits suicide. George is soon there to console her, remedying his own need for love and companionship. After a short courtship he brings her home to the ranch as his wife. Not at all happy, Phil is determined to drive her away, and hopefully before her son -- away at boarding school and one Phil calls a sissy - comes to stay for the summer. THE POWER OF THE DOG is a rich and enthralling tale, brilliantly written with all the qualities of most classic literature. Larry Watson, author of MONTANA 1948 referred to it as "... a masterpiece." With "... the dynamics of family, the varieties of love, and the ethos of the American West." That review alone might have induced more readers, but the Publisher's Weekly review of January 2, 1967, may have proved that the novel wasn't ready for an audience not yet exposed to the hidden community, or the gay rights movement of later in that decade, thus having "... strong literary but rather less commercial appeal." Though it is hinted in the novel that Phil is a repressed homosexual, it is not so blatant that it becomes disturbing, even to most homophobics. The story has so many other stronger qualities that far outweigh any alarming aspect of Phil's implied nature, that it should not have turned away any reader in 1967, no more than it would turn them away in 2001. THE POWER OF THE DOG is undoubtedly a classic novel, and Thomas Savage a treasure to the letters.
Brialelis
Excellent (though very dark) prose. There was an aura of 'gloom and doom' throughout this novel. A sense of impending trouble and sadness was on every page, and the ENDING did not disappoint. I sort of of figured out the driving plot, but the final few pages dealt a real surprise. Highly recommend to anyone who likes to read all genres. Actually wanted to give 4.5 stars.