Thank-you to Steve Zipp for sending me a copy of his book for the Canadian Reading Challenge. This book was a bit unsettling for me because it left me with so many questions when it ended, but it also stimulated a search for a few answers. I found myself looking at Yellowknife on Google Earth, discovering that it's bigger than I originally thought. I was awed at how far Yellowknife is from the U.S. and wondering if my husband and I would ever find ourselves in that neck of the woods.
I also read a few other reviews. I found one from the Danforth Review that helped me understand the book a bit better: "It would be impossible to try and summarize the plot of this book. Set in YK just before Y2K, part of the story is about disposing of a missile found in a tree; part is about love and broken love; part is about the corrupting influence of diamond mine speculators; part is about hockey; part is about Franklin’s legacy of getting lost; part is about scientists and the dumb government bureaucrats who stifle them. And there’s a lake monster and some talking animals near the end." --by Amy Reiswig
The book has several main characters, some of which never come in contact with the others. And there are many different story lines. There's Danny who comes to Yellowknife in search of a new life, who winds up living in the dump for a while where he meets Freddy. Danny also does some house-sitting for a couple. While house-sitting he discovers an underground tunnel that's part of a gold mine.
Nora is engaged to Hugo, but they have a big fight and Hugo leaves and never returns. Nora's office is moved to the basement of the building and she ends up sleeping there - under her desk. One night the wall crumbles and she wanders into the underground tunnel where she meets a dentist and his wife.
Hugo is saved from a near drowning, but he never goes back into Yellowknife or to Nora. At first he has amnesia, but even after he's memory returns he doesn't return to Yellowknife
When we next meet up with Freddy he is with his 4-yr-old son, Tyrone, who doesn't speak, but just plays his game boy.
I enjoyed this book even though I didn't always know what was going on. As I read over the discussion questions provided on Steve's website, I realized I missed a lot of innuendo and hidden meaning. Some days I wished I'd have majored in English instead of Science.
Some fun passages:
"Government had a way of warping thought and twisting speech."
"Her predilection for travelling had a whiff of obsession about it, and her inquisitiveness was undermined by an earnest desire to lead others to improvement."
"At length he decided they (stories) were a way of offering advice without being confrontational. Harmony was essential for people who lived in isolated close-knit groups. Instead of issuing orders, they told stories."