O. Alan Weltzien reflects on recent attention from his publications

UMW News Bureau

Weltzien tells his "Tale of Three Toms" - forgotten novelist Tom Savage, writer Tom McGuane and Tom Brokaw. alan My research over recent years in novelist Thomas Savage has turned up some happy surprises.  I have discovered that Tom Savage fans exist both near and far, despite the fact that all but two of his novels have been out of print for many years.  My recent article, "Thomas Savage, Forgotten Novelist" (in the Winter 2008 issue of Montana:  The Magazine of Western History), has created quite a stir. Novelist Diane Smith called it a "fascinating story."  And more recently, I have corresponded with writer, Tom McGuane, whom it turns out is a big Savage fan.  McGuane initially wrote, "It is incomprehensible that he is so neglected and maybe your essay will help change that."  McGuane ranks Savage very highly:  "In my view, Savage may be the best of all the western novelists, after [Willa] Cather."  This is high praise, indeed, coming from a writer who has lived near Livingston, Montana for decades and who has a national audience for his many novels and short stories. McGuane would certainly re-rank the leading serious writers of/about the American West!  In a further exchange, McGuane admitted he had sent my article to another Tom:  "Tom Brokaw is a Tom Savage fan.  I sent him your essay and he admired it, but wrote that it was 'not at all what I expected.'  Sic semper the real artists." I shall be sending complementary copies of the newly reprinted The Pass (1944, Savage's first novel, due out this month) to McGuane and Brokaw.  I have come to call these recent surprises my "Tale of Three Toms"--a tale that I hope will continue. -Weltzien