Friday, March 28, 2008


by Steve Zipp

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."


jenclair said...

Sounds confusing but interesting...

Anonymous said...

Hey Booklogged, I happened across your review today, and want to thank you for taking the time to read and comment on the book.

Sorry that you found it a little confusing. Me, I like books that are a bit untidy, books that don't wrap everything up nice and neat.

I also have a huge fondess for non-linear storylines (Catch-22 is one of my all-time favourites), and large casts of characters whose lives criss-cross unexpectedly.

One minor point -- the review you quoted isn't actually on my publisher's website. It's from a Canadian literary mag called The Danforth Review. The correct url is

Appreciate it if you could make that change.

Cheers, and keep on bloggin'.


heather (errantdreams) said...

It sounds quite fascinating---and surreal!

Booklogged said...

Jenclair, it was very interesting. I find myself thinking about it several times a day since I've finished. That doesn't happen with every book.

Steve, thank-you for commenting. Nonlinear is a perfect description. I made the change and appreciate you pointing that out for me. I hope you are working on a new book.

Heather, I wish I'd thought of surreal because that does accurately fit parts of the story.

SuziQoregon said...

Sounds interesting - this is the second review I've seen of this book recently. I'm kind of keeping it as a possibility for my Z author in the A-Z challenge.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, having an English degree doesn't always help. If you're in the mood for very confusing Canadian fiction, try reading some Rudy Weibe/ (He has been described as "all vision and no style").

Lesley said...

Hmm, I hadn't heard of this one before but I am always on the lookout for good Canaadian lit so thanks!

Anonymous said...

It can well qualify as Urban Fantasy. I truly liked it.

BTW, I have linked your review with my review!