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Mel Dagg.

Calgary, Westlands Book Express, c1982.
Distributed by Westlands Book Express, 1218 9th Ave. S. W., Calgary, AB.
129pp, paper, $6.50.
ISBN 0-919671-04-7.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Pauline A. Burns.

Volume 11 Number 4.
1983 July.

Mel Dagg, author of Same Truck, Different Driver, presently teaches in Montreal at Dawson College. These stories have appeared in other Canadian magazines or have been broadcast on CBC's Anthology, and are now brought together in this collection.

There are nine stories in total, all of them concerned in one way or another with the relationships between native peoples and white society. Having made this statement, I hasten to add that Mel Dagg's artistry encompasses much more than a sociological examination of a people. His tales are full of poetic imagery, evocative language, and characters whose attitudes and concerns remain in a reader's mind long after the book is closed.

Like the shifting shadows of a tree in late afternoon sunlight, his characters are seen in close focus in one story or are merely alluded to in another. As a result, the reader is left with a feeling of having met a whole host of people and with a wish to know some of them even better. The old bead-worker, Mrs. Red Plume, is photographed by the narrator, an anthropologist's assistant, as she works on her ancient craft. In the end, however, the narrator realizes that the film has been out of focus. Surely for white readers, that is one message the stories seek to convey; that the native culture can never quite be grasped by outsiders who see only the surface events. This anthology is an excellent example of the best in contemporary Canadian writing.

Pauline A. Bums, Simcoe County Board of Education, Orillia, ON.
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