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
Thomas Savage’s dark poetic writing about bachelor brothers in a small town in early 20th century American will hook you in.
Phil and George are brothers and 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
‘With its echoes of East of Eden and Brokeback Mountain, this satisfyingly complex story deserves another shot at rounding up public admiration' Guardian
“First published in 1967, this reissue is becoming a word-of-mouth classic.”
“Flinty naturalism, lean prose and authentic portrait of the American frontier...it without doubt deserves belatedly to reach a wider audience”
The Sunday Times
“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
“[Savage’s] prose is vivid and direct… [his] descriptions of nature have real power… a slow-burn psychological western.”
“The shocking turn of the book’s final pages keeps the story bright as a blade to the end...This is the perfect example of a book that never quite made it to the rank of classic...but is more than worthy of resurrection now”
Erica Wagner, New Statesman
“The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage is, quite simply, one of the finest contemporary novels I have ever read: set on a ranch in 1920s Montana, it is a taut, complex and superbly written exploration of family and landscape, of belonging and alienation, of repressed sensitivity and desire in an unforgivingly red-blooded world. There are scenes and characters so powerful that they haunt the memory like dreams, for the novel carries a charge well beyond its final, riveting pages.”
“Optimistically 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”
“The Power of the Dog resurfaces to a new generation of readers, less likely to skirt around the homosexual undercurrent that drives this text to its ultimate twist of an ending… Savage achieves…an intense realness, unearthing the inner darkness of the American Dream.”
“Savage writes like thunder and lightning. A flash will illuminate startling detail, a rumble will bring a fierce revelation, a philosophy, a big picture. It has a jarring, unsettling effect, like many great books, a reminder of inevitable change, of civilizations crumbling”
Los Angeles Times
“Entirely deserving of its Stoner comparison”
A Life in Books blog
“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...Savage is a master of narrative technique, and he takes sardonic pleasure in introducing Zane Grey to Sigmund Freud. Truths that once shocked now satisfy: better late than never”
“Rediscovered American classic.”
Mail on Sunday
“Savage’s powerful novel…packs a huge emotional punch.”
“Savage is brilliant on men and women alike in his keenly-observed psychological drama”
Lucy Scholes, Independent