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Herb Curtis

Fredericton, Goose Lane Editions, 1989. 263pp, paper, $14.95, ISBN 0-86492-108-X
Distributed by Goose Lane Editions, 248 Brunswick St., Fredericton, N.B. E3B1G9. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Jerry McDonnell.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

Curtis, a native of the Miramichi area and a story-teller, has written a novel very reminiscent of that oral craft. The story is set in his native region just at the time when television was beginning to arrive there, an event that would break down isolation and the unique character of the people. Radio was known but the people in the novel are "characters" in a way not known in more sophisticated locales.

The poverty is grinding and unrelenting for some of these people but the rules are strict as to when help may be given. Shirley Ramsey the deserted wife is on her own but Shirley Ramsey the widow is deserving of aid. There are very restrictive rules here that begin to break down with the arrival of outside influences, such as the American fishermen. The relationship is somewhat exploitive but it is also very beneficial.

Mostly, the story is an affirmation of the essential goodness of people and the growth in their knowledge and character as well as the gaining of relative wealth.

Some sophistication and experience is required to understand what is going on in this book. This would be a useful addition to Canadian literature collections in public libraries.

Jerry McDonnell, F.E. Madill Secondary School, Wingham, Ont.
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