Res Telluris, trade pb, 276 p.
Welcome to the mysterious north.What a wonderfully weird, surreal story this was! And such an eclectic cast of quirky characters! We’re introduced to quite a few different characters throughout the book, who were all equally unique, and bizarre, and memorable. Some of them only showed up briefly, and there is no clear ending for most of them, which has left me thinking about them long after having finished the book. About halfway through I was wondering what the point of it all was, but then I decided it didn’t matter if there was one or not. It’s a portrayal of a city, above all, and the people that pass through it, so we only witness moments of their lives in and around Yellowknife. What happens to them before or after is of little consequence to this particular story. I imagine it’s the kind of book that may frustrate some people because of all this, but I think fans of Haruki Murakami would appreciate it.
The time is 1998. The millennium looms. Yellowknife, capital of one-third of Canada and home to beasts and bureaucrats, is about to become a player in the world diamond market.
A penniless drifter, a businessman obsessed by bones, an artist with a baseball bat, a fallen academic who lives at the dump, a biologist with a son named after a fungus, a native man older than Canada, a Mounty with a jaw of steel.
Our Lady of the Lake Trout, the Paradox of the Ravens, the Ice Road Café, the Mosquito Research Institute. Y2K and the birth of Nunavut. A legend, a myth, a mystery.
The furthest north I’ve been in Canada is Edmonton which is still not really anywhere near Yellowknife, so I can only imagine what life is like in the north. However, the author has done a wonderful job bringing this fantastic, frustrating city vividly to life. I was reading this just after we moved into our new apartment and didn't have my sticky notes at hand, so I didn't make a note of any particular quotes, but this book had plenty of humour, sadness, mystery and wonder. I really enjoyed my brief virtual visit to Yellowknife, and discovering a part of Canada very different from the one I know. It’s a shame that it hasn’t yet found a wider audience, or availability. I hope that doesn’t deter Steve though and that he’s working on something new. I’d love to read more by him in the future.
Thank you to the author, Steve Zipp, for the opportunity to read this book for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge.
Steve Zipp's Book Blog
For more information, to read an excerpt, to order the book or to download it for free, visit Res Telluris, the publisher's website.
First sentence: The border gave Danny a start.
My Rating: 4/5
(#37 for 2009, 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, ARC Reading Challenge)
Also reviewed at:
an adventure in reading
The Book Mine Set
She Reads Books (including an interview with the author)
kiss a cloud
The Book Zombie
A Reader's Journal
The Indextrious Reader
SMS Book Reviews
Geranium Cat's Bookshelf
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