This is the second book I read by Trevor Herriot. I just love his writing, and this book didn’t disappoint either. Although it isn’t my favorite book written by him, this is my personal opinion of course, I really loved his vivid descriptions of the prairie grasslands. I may just be a bit of a naturalist myself. Who would have thought. But I was brought up in the countryside of Montreal. So, perhaps it is not too surprising.
Trevor is a naturalist, writer and artist. He summons forth the lives and myths of his home landscape, such as the rolling grasslands and forests of Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle River country, in this luminous portrayal of the settlement of the Northern Great Plains.
The book traces his summer-long journey through the Qu’Appelle Basin. Herriot blends personal memoir with natural history and family legend with social commentary. After travelling the wilder reaches of the Qu’Appelle and bringing to light its ecological and cultural tragedies, he arrives at the bend in the river where his Scottish grandfather staked his claim on the Qu’Appelle. Here he evokes the stories of one particular farm community, introducing us to characters from his childhood and dramatizes the loss of rural culture and local economy in the twentieth century.
Throughout his work, generations seem to whisper to generations through the pages of his prose. These voices are gathered from early explorers and utopian colonists, archaeologists and Cree elders, homesteaders and geologists. Their words arise always at the side of pathways both ancient and modern: the footpaths of buffalo hunters, the cart trails of displaced Metis and land-hungry immigrants, the spoor of coyote and bear, the rail lines abandoned by the very economy that build them, and, of course, the wandering, eloquent lines of the river itself and its many tributaries.
I just loved the book from start to finish.
Rating: 5 stars