The Whistling Season

Mary Haucke

Viola, WI

This novel encompasses so many family names, language references especially Latin, work and play and education and feelings, and places ranging from Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to the Marias Coulee one-room schoolhouse in Montana in 1910. In my recent family genealogy research and thinking about pioneering, farming, and my own families’ travels and settlements, so much of this beautifully told story by author Ivan Doig brought me to tears of joy, rereading for the sheer pleasure of experiencing the flow of Doig’s thoughts in his writing of this book. The plot takes you right to the end of the novel. The characters are so beloved. And because, again as I’ve known throughout my whole life as a farmer and an educator myself, the struggle to survive through farming droughts, the turmoil of new technologies being tried and not working politically or environmentally, and the educational systems that really worked back in the early 1900’s being decimated; all these are so familiar to my own experience in the late 1900’s as a dairy farmer, mother, and Special Education teacher in the rural community of Western Wisconsin. Thank you Ivan Doig, even if I’m the only rural, non-celebrity, retired farmer teacher who is nominating The Whistling Season as one of the 100 best books for this Great American Read. Mary Hetzel Haucke