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  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781784877842
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $19.99

The Power of the Dog

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

Discover Thomas Savage's dark poetic tale of a small town in early 20th century American that inspired the new Jane Campion film.

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. 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 its echoes of East of Eden and Brokeback Mountain, this satisfyingly complex story deserves another shot at rounding up public admiration' Guardian

  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781784877842
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Thomas Savage

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.

Praise for The Power of the Dog

Flinty naturalism, lean prose and authentic portrait of the American frontier...it without doubt deserves belatedly to reach a wider audience

The Sunday Times

[Savage's] prose is vivid and direct. [his] descriptions of nature have real power. a slow-burn psychological western.

The 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

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

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

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

Boston Globe

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


Rediscovered American classic.

Mail on Sunday

Savage's powerful novel.packs a huge emotional punch.


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.


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.

Adam Thorpe

Savage is brilliant on men and women alike in his keenly-observed psychological drama

Lucy Scholes, Independent

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

Entirely deserving of its Stoner comparison

A Life in Books blog

First published in 1967, this reissue is becoming a word-of-mouth classic.

Emerald Street

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