CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by Wayne Grady

Camden East (Ont.), Camden House, 1991. 303pp, paper, $12.95
ISBN 0-921820-21-6. Distributed by Firefly Books

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Katheryn Broughton.

Volume 19 Number 4
1991 September

Wayne Grady (former editor of Harrowsmith and Books in Canada) defines his territory here as "populated non-urban Canada" and declares his conviction that contrary to popular belief, "the land shapes the people." The selections include a wide diversity of form: memoir, essay and short story.

Stegner's memoir ('The Question Mark in the Circle") is a beautiful and accurate evocation of the experience of going back to a loved childhood home. In contrast, Iglauer's response to new experience in "Fishing with John" shows an adult tackling fears that can easily immobilize.

The essays range from Horwood's "A Thing Marvellous to See" on his love for the Annapolis Valley to Grady's delineation of tobacco farming in Ontario ("Tobacco Road"). Gayton's description of the science of prairie soil ("Deeper into Prairie") is surprisingly fascinating, while Fraser's "Lie of the Land" delves into the intricacies of the border between Quebec and Vermont. Also interesting is Robertson's "Miami," about a small Manitoba town, its past, present and likely demise.

Wonderful stories include MacLeod's brilliant "Closing Down of Summer," in which an inarticulate Cape Breton miner muses over his life as a world-wide itinerant worker and its effect on relationships within his family, and also Henrie's tale ("La chambre a mourir") of an ailing grandmother who refuses to convenience her care givers by moving to a downstairs room where deaths have taken place. Skelton's delightful, mythic story ("Cat Creek") tells how the phrase 'Taking gold out of Cat Creek" origi­nated and how it refers to a person who boasts inappropriately. Burn's "Sub­urbs of the Arctic Circle" is a tragic story of tension developing along racial lines when an Indian drunkard dies of exposure despite the fact that he must have been seen and could have been saved.

There is a "sameness" in some of the selections and several are too long, but if the reader browses over a period of time, this is not a great difficulty.


Katheryn Broughton, Thornhill, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works