Thursday, September 27, 2012

a different story

I bought this book a few years ago and it has been sitting on my shelf.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, and I think I bought it on a lark because it was Canadian literature.  I can't really say what drew me to pick up the book (sale, perhaps?), or why I have held on to it for years without reading it, but I finally took the plunge and picked it up.

Now I am kicking myself I didn't pick it up years ago.  Hodgins is a wonderful writer, and his prose is a delight.  Broken Ground is a story about a returning soldier's settlement on Vancouver Island shortly after the close of WWI.  This isn't your average tale of the great war, and I found it very profound at times how the "broken ground" reflected the broken lives of the soldiers as they came from all over Canada to this community on the wild west coast and tried to carve out a new life.  Through this novel is the thread of hope, of creating a new life, of the ghosts of the past.  Lives are perfect, and the characters are quite compelling.  At times I found the narrative a bit hard to follow in terms of characters (the narrative voice shifts chapter to chapter between residents of the settlement), but once I caught on, it was fine.  I found that the end wrapped up almost too quickly, however, this is a great read - however, not really a quick read.  I will most certainly read more of Hogkins writing.  I feel a bit naive - here I am trying to read more local literature and here is a very accomplished BC writer that I was totally oblivious too. 

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