Episode Twenty-Four – Thomas Savage and Alan Weltzien
Thomas Savage was a novelist who grew up in Beaverhead County, Montana, on a sheep ranch. He published a dozen novels but was sadly overlooked while he was alive, despite receiving resounding critical acclaim for his entire career. His work was rediscovered around the turn of the century, thanks in large part to the praises of Annie Proulx and Tom McGuane, and his best novel, The Power of the Dog, is about to appear on the big screen in a film adapted by Oscar winning screenwriter Jane Campion (The Piano), who also directed it.
Alan Weltzien, long time Montana University Western professor, has recently published an outstanding biography of Thomas Savage that not only digs deeply into his personal life, which was complicated by chronic alcohol abuse, and the fact that he lived as a family man despite knowing from a young age that he was homosexual, as well as a life-long struggle to find the recognition so many people knew he deserved. Weltzien has been researching Savage’s work for more than twenty years, and his insights into each of his novels, as well as his complicated relationship with Montana, is extremely well written and meticulously researched, thanks in large part to the cooperation Alan received from Savage’s surviving family.
As always, we want to thank our sponsors, The Isle of Books in Bozeman, Montana, and Chapter One Bookstore in Hamilton, Montana. Please visit their websites if you want to order either of these books or any of the books we discuss on our podcast.