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Download That Old Ace in the Hole Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample That Old Ace in the Hole Audiobook, by Annie Proulx Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,500 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annie Proulx Narrator: Arliss Howard Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2002 ISBN: 9780743548830
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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 panhandles 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 dry lands.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[In] That Old Ace in the Hole, Proulx’s hardscrabble wit and wisdom are heightened by the force of her language— her bone-deep feel for its curves and crevices.” 

    Boston Globe

  • “Proulx’s own ace in the hole is her brilliance at evoking place and landscape. She sets about drawing the vast distances and parched flatlands of Texas with almost immeasurable skill.” 

    Guardian  (London)

  • “The travels and travails of Bob Dollar, and his habit of asking garrlous locals to tell stories about the old days, allow [Prouxl] to build up a rich and many-layered portrait of the region. The reader gets to pluck the fruits of all that research and through the magic of her prose become engrossed in subjects like windmill repairs and the history of barbed wire.” 

    Telegraph magazine

  • “Proulx is our laureate of landscape, the expansive descriptions of natural phenomena worthy of Barry Lopez or Edward Hoagland. [Her] fiction has become even richer book by book. With this funny and haunting panorama…she has managed to outdo her previous outdoing.” 

    New York Observer

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don | 2/17/2014

    " This book is lighter than most of what I've read of Ms. Proulx, but she turns about to be fairly adept at McMurtry-esque Texas humor. She does cover some serious themes, but she does so by letting us watch her mold the main character from a tub of moral goo into a right decent person. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Lloyd | 2/12/2014

    " This didn't have a typical plot. Rather, it's about a young guy who meets lots of interesting people as he is trying to fulfill his job obligations. I liked "listening in" to their conversations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 2/12/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed both "the Shipping News" and "Accordion Crimes" so I thought I'd try this one. I gave up on it twice before but finally stuck it out this time. It's not so compelling a read as the others - it tracks a man scouting sites in the panhandle for monster hog farms who meets with lots of local opposition - but it has at least convinced me to make sure I always get my meat from the local farmer's market, particularly pork products. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina Hauptfuehrer | 2/12/2014

    " Set in present-day rural Texas, this has plenty of local detail and rich characters. Good for when you want to experience a different place and way of life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 1/24/2014

    " Fanciful plot with such a beautiful take on harsh west Texas realities. The detailed description of Panhandle dirt, water, plants, animals was amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Johnson | 1/24/2014

    " Couldn't stick with it...the prose did not have any real propulsion, though I liked the teenage punk character. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shari | 1/24/2014

    " Bob Dollar works for the Global Pork Rind company and set out for the Texas Panhandle to scout sites for stinky hog farms. There he settles in Woolybucket and becomes caught up in the town and its colorful history, inhabitants and future. The characters are great and you get swept in to the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth Blahut | 1/21/2014

    " Enjoyed this book--love the main character's name, Bob Dollar. Was interesting to read about the landscape and history of the Texas panhandle as well as the Oklahoma panhandle. Proulx must have done a lot of research into the history of the place where the novel is set. Her books always reveal what appears to be true history of the industries of any given region and the motivations behind who settled in those places. I never before thought about how barbed wire could change the landscape, or about how vital windmills were to the cattle industry. Fascinating history with wonderful characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Murk | 1/18/2014

    " Great book of learning to belong and region. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cmbrooks | 12/22/2013

    " The town of Woolybucket in the Oklahoma panhandle is imaginary, as is the hero, Bob Dollar, who seeks his fortune by scouting locations for hog farming, but the tales of pioneering Americans and the Western flavour have the grit of authenticity. A great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 12/16/2013

    " Proulx is perhaps one of the best visual writers I have read in a long time. Her words paint a brilliant, witty, fun look at the panhandles. The characters are very well drawn out so by the middle of the book they are as real a most of the characters we all grew up with. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 12/15/2013

    " My fave female writer. This book makes you question eating meat, taking advantage of your neighbors, and a whole slew of other things, without really trying. Awesome characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy | 12/13/2013

    " This took place in the panhandle of Texas, it was a dry slow book, very similar to the place it was written about. This book certainly wouldn't convince you that it was one of 1000 places you had to see before you die. Go ahead, take the Interstate and move right on through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eleanor | 12/10/2013

    " Gotta love a book about hogs! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eb0 | 12/6/2013

    " Amusing, slight, sometimes preachy, but a quick read. Hasn't put me off reading Shipping News one day. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jocelyn | 11/16/2013

    " Not as stunning as _The Shipping News_, but again, defining a place while the place shapes the main character. Obviously, a lot of research went into it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed Smiley | 6/25/2013

    " In some ways a Texas Panhandle version of "Local Hero", an outsider representing the forces of Extinction of a Way of Life comes into a closed community of offbeat characters, and goes native. Generally an enjoyable read, but not as good as The Shipping News. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 4/4/2013

    " If you find yourself stuck in Northern Texas, this would be a great book to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eve | 3/12/2013

    " Slow and spare, the prose imitates the landscape. It made me want to see panhandle Texas just once. The characters and the interweaving stories are good enough that you have to forgive the somewhat deus ex machina ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 2/23/2013

    " This was a fun book! Funny and loveable southern Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle characters that will crack you up! Cute and well done! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Davy | 12/25/2012

    " Excellent. Texas panhandle, you feel like you've known the characters- great reading for connection to people and place. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 12/1/2012

    " It was mildly enjoyable. I did like learning about the Texas panhandle region and I did enjoy learning about the various characters and their quirky personality traits. I did not find the main character, Bob Dollar, very compelling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 7/16/2012

    " This was a totally enjoyable book. It is not big on plot but very character driven. I loved the characters and the descriptions of the area/small towns and the people. I often felt like I was sitting in the local diner enjoying the conversations myself. I hated for the book to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 3/27/2012

    " I'm putting this on my to-read list cause I am planning to re-read it but I read it once already and it is highly recommended. Even better than the Shipping News, which I also loved. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meggityb | 2/5/2012

    " I rediscovered Annie Proulx with this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marla Glenn | 12/13/2011

    " I really enjoyed the characters in this book. There were several laugh-out-loud moments. Funny book, like a spoof of a western. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phyllis | 10/17/2011

    " If I ever eat pork again, it won't be without visions from this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J B Mills | 6/27/2011

    " Kinda slow in the middle, but worth it. Great character development. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessie | 6/27/2011

    " Liking her writing more and more "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fran | 6/5/2011

    " This was a good read. The characters were interesting, but some not developed very much. I liked the environmental messages. The book discussed industrial hog farms, and prairie restoration. These topics are very close to my life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Su | 6/2/2011

    " I sat down to read this book expecting a joyous experience, but instead I found myself laboriously reading page after page after page that literally wore me out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 4/17/2011

    " It was mildly enjoyable. I did like learning about the Texas panhandle region and I did enjoy learning about the various characters and their quirky personality traits. I did not find the main character, Bob Dollar, very compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela | 3/29/2011

    " I couldn't put it down....perfect cliff hanger at the end to lead a reader to believe a sequel is possible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 3/24/2011

    " I especially liked all the Denver references but I have to say all of Annie Proulx's male protagonist are always so wishy washy. What's the deal? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cath | 3/21/2011

    " Same problem as with Shipping News - a saggy middle section. Proulx's real strength is the short story, where the demands of pacing aren't so heavy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 1/30/2011

    " If you find yourself stuck in Northern Texas, this would be a great book to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 1/12/2011

    " Took me a minute to get into this one, but the main character, Bob Dollar, is quite endearing in his own understated way. Many fascinating characters and glimpse into Texas culture (in a good way, ha)... "

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About the Author
Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is Barkskins. She lives in Seattle.
About the Narrator

Versatile actor Arliss Howard has appeared in films by many renowned directors, including Steven Spielberg, in Amistad and Jurassic Park: The Lost World; Stanley Kubrick, in Full Metal Jacket; and Oliver Stone, in Natural Born Killers.