Mr. Husband and I are spoiled by being members of two families who each have family cottages. We are also devoted winter road warriors for our ski weekends in Collingwood. This leaves us with two months a year when we are actually home in our house – November and April, affectionately termed, the shoulder seasons. We would both love to travel and see more of Canada, but since our love of our cottages far outweighs our desire to travel, I have seen precious little of this beautiful country. I am a fairly staunch nationalist and proud Canadian for someone who has traveled the provinces and territories so little and who is actually spending Canada typing this blog, instead of rah! rahing! our heritage on Parliament Hill.
I have grown to love and appreciate Canada through the words, pictures and ideas of those who know it best: Our fiction writers. When I was in high school, Can. Lit. meant "The Stoned Angel, A House Full of Birds, The Handjob’s Tale and Who Can Smell My Wind." – mature re-inventions for Cathlic school girls, don’t you think?
But Canadian Literature has become so rich, so prolific and so varied in its themes, that it is as powerful and diverse an entity as the cultures who form our mosiac.
Cure for Death By Lightning by GAIL ANDERSON-DARGATZ takes me to the home of 15 year old farm girl Beth Weeks in Turtle Valley, B.C. Through Gail and Beth, I have seen the mud of spring turn a vibrant and disturbing red as the seasonal migration of the turtles competes with the necessary frequency of travel by the farmers to and from town in order to prepare for the planting season. I have been through thick BC forests and along winding dirt trails. Later, when Beth’s daughter Kat returns home in Turtle Valley, I learn first hand about the devastating fires that can ravage these magnificent forests.
TIMOTHY TAYLOR has taken me on a more modern and cosmopolitan tour through
his novel, Stanley Park. Chef Jeremy Papier tries to find balance between his desire to cook and serve meals based solely on indigenous ingredients, keep his restaurant from becoming victim to the over-caffeinization of the city by the ubiqiuouts coffee chain, "Inferno", and come to terms with his estranged anthropolical father who has taken up permanent residence in Stanley Park. Throughout Jeremy’s struggles , we explore Vancouver and are provided an exceptional and intimate look at the extraordinary Park that borders the city.
EDEN ROBINSON takes me through life on a Haisla settlement of Kitamaat on the West Coast. The powerful and heart-rending tale of Lisa and her younger brother Jimmy, whose disappearance in the ocean provides a catalyst for the tale of Monkey Beach to unfold, is coloured with their native traditons and culture. The importance of story-telling, legends and the spirit-world, as well as the symbol for water for this coastal community create a BC much different than the farming communities of Anderson-Dartgatz and Taylor’s urban Vancouver.
My plan when I started this was to list books for each province and territory in this blog, but looking at the length of this and the time it takes on the summer of "dial up" I have decided to do a province/territory a week. I will also continue to do individual book reviews. Please feel free to provide suggestions and ideas. Enjoy the sunshine and the little tour through BC!