The Power of the Dog
From the Afterword by Annie Proulx
It is the fifth and, for some readers, including this one, the best of Savage's thirteen novels, a psychological study freighted with dreama and tension, unusual in dealing with a topic rarely discussed in that period – repressed homosexuality displayed as homophobia in the masculine ranch world
'Billed as the next Stoner, this 1967 reissue is in fact the better novel...a rich and challenging psychodrama, based on brilliant characterisation... With its echoes of East of Eden and Brokeback Mountain, this satisfyingly complex story deserves another shot at rounding up public admiration' Guardian
Phil and George are brothers, more than partners, joint owners of the biggest ranch in their Montana valley.
Phil is the bright one, George the plodder. Phil is tall and angular; George is stocky and silent. Phil is a brilliant chess player, a voracious reader, an eloquent storyteller; George learns slowly, and devotes himself to the business.
Phil is a vicious sadist, with a seething contempt for weakness to match his thirst for dominance; George has a gentle, loving soul. They sleep in the room they shared as boys, and so it has been for forty years.
When George unexpectedly marries a young widow and brings her to live at the ranch, Phil begins a relentless campaign to destroy his brother's new wife. But he reckons without an unlikely protector.
From its visceral first paragraph to its devastating twist of an ending, The Power of the Dog will hold you in its grip.
WITH AN AFTERWORD BY ANNIE PROULX
A powerfully tense tale of domestic tyranny set against the wild open spaces of the American West - another rediscovered classic from the publishers of Stoner
"An exhilarating drama between two brothers set in Twenties Montana, and better even than Stoner" -- Nicholas Shakespeare Daily Telegraph "Something aching and lonely and terrible of the west is caught forever on Savage's pages, and the most compelling and painful of [his] books is The Power of the Dog, a work of literary art" -- Annie Proulx, from her afterword "If there were justice in the literary marketplace, surely one or another of Thomas Savage's dozen novels would have been topping bestseller lists for the past 30-odd years..." New York Times Book Review "Readers were spooked by this iconoclastic Western when it first appeared in 1967, and it was quickly buried...a tale of domestic tensions set in cattle country in the 1920s, the novel is a pitch-perfect evocation of time and place" Boston Globe
Thomas Savage was born on 25 April 1915 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to a large sheep-ranching family. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and on his mother's remarriage Savage moved with her to Montana. He studied at the University of Montana and worked as a ranch hand for several years, but when an article he wrote on horse-breaking was published in Coronet magazine in 1937, Savage enrolled at Colby College in Maine to study English. He went on to have a variety of jobs, including welder, insurance man and plumber as well as teaching English at Brandeis and Vassar. His first novel, The Pass, was published in 1944 and he went on to write twelve more, including The Power of the Dog. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1980. Thomas Savage died in Virginia on 25 July 2003, aged eighty-eight.