One of my literary heroes, Ivan Doig, passed away this April. His memoir, THIS HOUSE OF SKY, published in 1979, was hugely popular in my days as a college student working in bookstores, and his portrayal of mid-century Montana ranch life is a classic. The novels I loved the most were those that, like his memoir, took the perspective of a young boy—ENGLISH CREEK, THE WHISTLING SEASON, and THE BARTENDER’S TALE. And in all of them, the minor characters pop.
On minor characters: “[I admire Joseph Conrad] for a reason I’ve never heard any academic stick up for—his minor characters, who stay on and on in the mind. I take great pains with mine, bearing in mind Lawrence Olivier’s acting advice: “The third spear-carrier from the left should act as if the play is all about the third spear-carrier from the left.”“
— Ivan Doig, quoted by Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor, in The Missoulian, 5/3/15