Thursday, August 20, 2009

Badlands Saloon

Jonathan Twingley’s illustrated novel “Badlands Saloon” tells of a New York art student’s summer at home in Marysville, North Dakota (I think this is a fictitious place). The main character, Ollie works with Tank at the Chains and Whistles bike shop next door to the Badlands Saloon, run by Kate.

Ollie is a gentle soul, a curious person, and very accepting of people…and the people in Marysville are interesting. Jonathan’s illustrations are humorous, surreal, yet authentic. More than caricature, more like character. Bright colors.

Of all the characters, and there are plenty in this book to like, I enjoyed Willie Beck the most. A guy most of us would cross the street to avoid, Ollie accepts him and embraces him and finds wisdom in his words.

For those looking for excitement there’s some, but the plot is even and gentle, more like a journal than a novel. On this relaxing day, it was fun to be transported to this fun town in summer with all the tourists mixing with the locals, sipping coffee with Ollie and Tank in the quiet bike shop, and slippin’ over to the Badlands Saloon for a few cold ones. This was fun.

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