GETTING MARRIED IN BUFFALO JUMP
Volume 16 Number 2
The second novel by Susan Charlotte Haley fulfills all expectations aroused by her first very successful book, A Nest of Singing Birds (NeWest Press, 1984). Haley lives in the Northwest Territories where she owns and operates a small charter airline, as well as writes.Getting Married in Buffalo Jump tells the story of Sophia Ware, a kindergarten teacher in her late twenties who is tired of empty and meaningless love affairs. Sophia decides to marry her handsome Ukrainian farmhand, Alexander Bresnyachuk. For her it is physical love at first sight; for him, Sophia is a pretty girl with a farm. His marriage proposal made in the Buffalo Jump Café, is rather unusual: "I want a place," he said. "I guess that's why I come back here." "A place?" Sophia decided to give up on the salad. "Yeah. A farm.... I'm not going to lie about this, Sophia .... You want to keep your place, and I want to farm it." "So what are you proposing? A written agreement?" Sophia was becoming frightened. "I'm proposing a marriage," said Alexander. The story, set in the Alberta farmlands, involves a host of characters of all ages; the plot, factual and convincing, is developed mostly through dialogue. As the narrative progresses, such disparate elements as family relationships, unwanted pregnancy, Indian life, Ukranian folklore, the drug culture and . . . the mysterious Benedict are brought into focus. The whole results in a witty, suspenseful novel, polished and humorously written, with some unpredictable and unusual twists. The attractively bound volume with its unpretentiously significant jacket designed by Royce Becker is particularly well planned. The rather large bold print and short chapters with their straightforward titles are positive assets. Some of the sex and drug culture scenes might be interpreted as role models if presented in a high school environment: I would not include this book in a high school collection, although some senior students might enjoy it. Inclusion in a high school collection should be at the discretion of the librarian.
Anne Locatelli, Elliot Lake Secondary School, Elliot Lake, ON.
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