Clifford by Harold R. Johnson (73)

This is a great nonfiction book that reads like a memoir or chronicle of a life in Saskatchewan. I loved the book, and the story as well as the background to the book. It is real and raw as well as honest.

When Harold Johnson returns to his childhood home in a northern Saskatchewan Indigenous community for his brother’s funeral, Clifford, the first thing his eyes fall on is a chair.

It stands on three legs–yup you read that right.  How can a chair stand on 3 legs?  Hmmm…no idea. But this one apparently did.  The fourth leg was broken off and missing.

So, begins a journey through the past, a retrieval of recollections that have too long sat dormant. Moving from the old family home to the log cabin, the garden, and family settling deep in the forest surrounding the property, his mind circles back, shifting in time and space, weaving in and out of memories of his silent, powerful, Swedish father, his formidable Cree mother, and his brother Clifford.

Clifford was a precocious young boy who was drawn to the mysterious workings of the universe. Memory, fiction and fantasy collide, and Clifford comes to life as the scientist he was meant to be, culminating in his discovery of the Grand Unified Theory.

This story is exquisitely crafted, funny, visionary, and wholly moving. This story is an extraordinary work for the way it defies strict category and embraces myriad forms of storytelling.

When you read the book, you will be immersed in the notion of a home, a family, a community, the wider world, and the entire cosmos. What a treasure-throve of great storytelling.



About irenesroth

I am a freelance and academic writer. I am currently writing a book called `Fearless Freelance Writers`. Please look out for it soon on this blog.
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