WINTER OF THE WHITE WOLF
Volume 17 Number 3
The third novel in the "Livelong Quartet," Winter of the White Wolf continues the history of two Swedish Families, the Lungdahls and the Bjornssons, in Livelong, Saskatchewan.
Beginning on the day of Johanna Lungdahl's death, the book chronicles her "out-wandering journey" from Sweden to Canada in 1905 to join her lover, Arvid Bjornsson: her meeting with Old Woman, a Cree Indian from the Thunderchild Reserve; her marriage to Bjorn, Arvid's brother; and her life on a Pioneer prairie homestead. Paralleling her story is that of Annika, her granddaughter, who is searching for herself and her roots; her love for young Arvid; and her inability to come to terms with the loss of her beloved grandmother.
Each chapter is a story unto itself, moving from Johanna's story to that of Annika. Interwoven through the story are Scandinavian and Cree myths joining the old world with the new.
The novel is rich in description, the language poetic. The sprinkling of Swedish words in the dialogue adds to the authenticity. The writing is crisp and powerful, the setting beautifully conveyed, and the characters realistic and alive.
Winter of the White Wolf reads easily alone, but reading the first two titles of the "Livelong Quartet," Summer of the Hungry Pup ¹ and The Last Echo (Newest Press, 1985), would only enrich the experience.
Byrna Barclay has spent summers near Livelong, Saskatchewan, and the Thunderchild Reserve; she brings to her writing her respect for the Swedish homesteaders and the Cree.
Donna J. Adrian, Laurenval School Board, Laval, PQ.
¹ Reviewed vol. X/3 1982, p.184.
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