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Littlejohn, Bruce and Wayland Drew.

Toronto. McClelland and Stewart, c1984. 176pp,cloth,$39.95, ISBN 0-7710-5318-5. CIP

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by Robin Lewis

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Photographer Littlejohn and author Drew are schoolteachers who have previously published work, both separately and in collaboration. Their latest book might almost be reviewed as two separate contibutions.

Drew has written a description and history of the islands and perimeter of the gulf, an area he perceives as contiguous. He easily transmits this perception to his reader. Authors from Creighton down have acknowledged the unity of the St. Lawrence Valley; a study of the gulf is unusual.

Material is written in short sections without chapter headings. This makes it a little difficult to follow the development of the theme, and the lack of an index makes it hard to review information. The sketch map, however, is a great help, and the bibliography is welcome. (Visiting the Island of the St. Lawrence, by Ouellet and Chouinard, a smaller study, will provide a larger, mostly French bibliography).

A Sea Within is half text and half photographs.

Imagine yourself lying on cold rounded beach stones, and looking up at a clear blue sky. Rusted chicken wire supports flayed codfish a short distance from your nostrils. Disgusting! But Bruce Littlejohn covers his nose with his battered Nikon and produces an image of brilliant, startling beauty.

The broad range of photographs does not illustrate the narrative directly, like the graphics in a comic book. But it is a rare and perceptive documentation. Photographs can be savoured individually or digested collectively. Their scope and beauty complement the text and fully justifies the combination of print and picture.

Drew's work is basically a lay history, yet there are some details that even well-read individuals will find intriguing. The geographical descriptions are crisp and accurate, yet they often have a soft turn of phrase that shows the authors' love for the area, its history, and its people.

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