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Edith Iglauer.

Vancouver, Douglas & Mclntyre, c1974, 1982.
237pp, paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-88894-350-4.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Robin Lewis.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

To Edith Iglauer, the barren land north of Great Slave Lake is a topsy-turvy world where food in cupboards freezes, while bread in the insulated refrigerator is relatively warm. She describes construction of the three-hundred-mile-long seasonal freight road over frozen lakes and portages to the arctic circle.

Short tales of this type of road have appeared before, in Canadian Owner-Driver for instance. But this book presents a comprehensive description. It is given by a determined woman who self-consciously hid her soft, injured hands as she worked to endure hardships she had never anticipated, in spite of her extensive arctic travels.

The cold mechanics of ice, trucks, and machinery are balanced by her warm portrait of the ailing, often cantankerous John Denison. We increasingly understand his obsession with pushing his tractor trailers northward to the Port Radium Copper Mine: "Our bodies are nothing. Our minds are the only living thing."

Iglauer's humorous, sometimes beautiful descriptions seem as true-to-life as those in her earlier book The New People (Doubleday, 1966). Her style is almost conversational; yet detail is accurate and precise. The book will appeal to those interested in the north, human endurance, trucks and frontiers, and to many who have suffered through a severe Canadian winter.

Recently this reviewer "rhubarbed" on the icy road behind his school's auto shop. Curious about what this means? Interested in a good book about tough Canadians and a unique trucking venture? Then read Denison's Ice Road.

Robin Lewis, Riverdale H. S., Pierrefonds, QB.
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