The Prairie Novels

The Prairie Novels

Book - 2004
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James Hoffman, George Ryga's biographer, provides a brilliant guide to the reader of this collection, with a compelling reappraisal of Ryga's fiction as far ahead of its time. The three short novels included here-- Hungry Hills , Ballad of a Stonepicker and Night Desk --draw from the same large canvas of rural, depression-era Alberta. They have similar stark prairie settings and a recognizable array of colourful, cantankerous homesteader and dirt farmer characters, all of whom take us in many pleasurable, disturbing and revealing directions, both historical and mythopoetic. This was a period of obstinate survival farming and boisterous, ethnically diverse community building, redolent with the more questionable aspects of colonial 'settling' and 'breaking' of the land, in a place that was never unsettled or unclaimed to begin with.

Told in a homey vernacular, each of these three tales evokes a time and place that is as ironically as it is emphatically post-colonial. Ryga offers the reader (and re-reader) characters with a rough-hewn energy for survival and self-determination, and finds in them the beginnings of an authentic prairie culture defined by the anti-colonial struggle that so powerfully marks his work.
Publisher: Vancouver, BC : Talonbooks, c2004
ISBN: 9780889225015
088922501X
Branch Call Number: FIC RYG
Characteristics: 316 p. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Hoffman, James F.

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