By Chet Yarbrough
Last Bus to Wisdom
By: Ivan Doig
Narrated by: David Aaron Baker
Ivan Clark Doig (Author, novelist 1939-2015, died at age 75.)
Ivan Doig died in 2015. His last novel, published in 2015, is “Last Bus to Wisdom”. Those of a certain age will remember what it was like to ride a Greyhound bus in the 1950s.
The boy’s name is Donal, aka Donny or Red Chief. His mother and father have died in an auto accident. As one might surmise from Donal’s nick name and his grandmother’s job, he is an imaginative boy with a lot of time on his own while his Gram works. Donal learns something about cowboys, Indians, rodeos, and ranching.
Donal lives with his grandmother who works as a cook on a Montana ranch.
The trip to Wisconsin is memorable for a confrontation with a suitcase thief, a missed bus, a kiss from a waitress, conversation with American Army recruits heading for Korea, a fight with fellow eleven-year-old’s, and Donal’s first meeting with his grandmother’s sister.
Donal’s stay in Wisconsin is shortened by a falling out with his grandmother’s sister who decides to send him back to Montana with the prospect of being sent to an orphanage.
Donal is rescued by Dutch, the assumed husband of his grandmother’s sister. Dutch is not the husband but a survivor of a shipwrecked cargo vessel that took the life of the actual husband of the sister.
The story of Donal’s travels is a great entertainment but acquiring wisdom is another matter. “Last Bus to Wisdom” is a well-told tale to entertain rather than enlighten. Still, this is a great piece of writing illustrating the talent of a very good novelist.