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Paul St. Pierre.

Vancouver, Douglas & Mclntyre, c1966, 1984.
164pp, paper, $7.95.
ISBN 0-88894-4314.

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by Mary Fallis.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

This must be one of the best yarns in Canadian writing; certainly it is one of the best told. And the writer has something to say about the nature of yarns and storytelling in the preface.

The story was televised in the 1950s and again in the early 60s. It was published in book form in 1966, and made into a not very impressive Hollywood movie. The author notes: "I was never responsible for that Smith." Now the original text appears in a new edition "with all its warts."

We move from the basic activities of a Chilcotin ranch-getting the hay in, repairs for equipment, constant need for ready cash—all presented low key and with deadpan remarks, to a contemplation of how human beings do things, from ranchers on side-hills to government bodies. We spend time in court at the murder trial of an Indian who had been "too drunk to know what he was doing." We come to numerous conclusions about "justice," as various characters end up in jail, some of them mistakenly, and as a small sum of money moves from pocket to pocket effecting new moves in the plot. Norah, Smith, 01' Antoine, Gabriel Jimmyboy, an Assizes judge and a jury all turn the screw, not necessarily in the same direction. The conclusion is simple and inevitable: the plot comes out where it was going all the time.

More stories about this Chilcotin cast were published in Smith and Other Events* late in 1983.

*Reviewed vol. XI/5 September 1983 p.204.

Mary Fallis, Prince George, BC.
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