CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Watson, Sheila
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1992. 141pp, paper, $14.99
ISBN 07710-8823-X. CIP

Adult / Secondary

Reviewed by Katheryn Broughton

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October

Sheila Watson's first published novel, The Double Hook (McClelland & Stewart, 1959), is considered a Canadian classic. Although written in the 1930s and published now for the first time, this work is an accomplished precursor.

Set in B.C.'s Cariboo country (where the author taught early in her life), the story involves Stella, a young teacher, as she slowly becomes part of this small, isolated community. She senses the tensions that animate the various relationships and the ripple effect on other, peripheral characters.

Central to the plot is the bitterness between Mamie and her sister-in-law, Rose. Mamie considers herself the sole person of taste and culture in this remote outpost and considers Rose beneath contempt. A boarder at Rose's, Stella moves (with her horse, Button, and her dog, Juno) to her own cabin, where she ponders the life she observes around her as she reads her literary classics. The story is often enigmatic: for example, the reader is not clearly told why Stella remains or the reason for the Farishes' departure.

Like The Double Hook, this work is strong in atmosphere, almost brooding, reflecting the austere beauty of the land, which is alluring despite its harsh climate and forbidding terrain.

Since this novel is beautifully written and part of the Watson canon, it should be purchased by both high school and public libraries. It is recommended for adult readers who do not require a narrative full of exterior event but respond to activity of the mind and heart.

Katheryn Broughton is a retired teacher-librarian in Thornhill, Ontario
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

francaisDigital Collections / Collections Numérisees francais