Saskatchewan Books

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Saskatchewan Books

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Ago 18, 2009, 10:57am

This is a thread for listing and discussing books with a Saskatchewan setting.

Editado: Ago 18, 2009, 11:17pm

I have to list Owls in the Family because Owls rock.

Sep 18, 2009, 1:57pm

The Gail Bowen mysteries (featuring Joanne Kilbourn) are set in Saskatchewan. I believe that there are 11 of these, so far.

Years ago, I read the first one, Deadly Appearances, and enjoyed that one. I need to track down the second in the series, Murder at the Mendel.

Sep 20, 2009, 4:13pm

I haven't actually read any of his books - yet - but I hear that Guy Vanderhaeghe is an extraordinary writer. The Last Crossing is his most well-known. He's been on my tbr list for a while now, so this group may just be the push I need for a next read!

Sep 20, 2009, 8:42pm

The Last Crossing is on my TBR list too, but I recently picked up a copy of Lost Geography by Charlotte Bacon (set partly in Saskatchewan) that also looks interesting and I think I may read that one first.

Oct 29, 2009, 5:55pm

A Song for Nettie Johnson is a very good book of short stories, all interconnected and taking place in Saskatchewan. I would never have heard of this book if not for the wise RWG - thank you for letting me read it first :)

Feb 19, 2011, 4:31pm

I managed to pick up two Saskatchewan books while showing my mother around town!
Peace Shall Destroy Many is about Mennonites who flee Russia to settle on Saskatchewan farms. 'Conflicts between the disciplined, peaceful dedication of their thriving community and the increasingly powerful threats and challenges of the war torn world of 1944'.

North to Cree Lake looks like a really good book, especially if you liked Lost in the Barrens. "In the autumn of 1932, two brothers left the comfort of home to spend the next seven winters deep in the wilds of northern Saskatchewan as professional trappers". For those who know Sask, the cover states that the author lives in Nipawin.

Editado: Feb 19, 2011, 4:36pm

Also Cool Water is a Saskatchewan book that is fairly easy to find right now.

Feb 20, 2011, 8:02am

Thanks for all the Saskatchewan recommendations, Bcteagirl! I'll also add Small Beneath the Sky, the memoirs of Lorna Crozier, here.

Feb 25, 2011, 2:34pm

BCteaGirl - I really enjoyed Peace Shall Destroy Many when I finally got around to reading it. However, I pulled a blank on the controversial aspects of the book. The author, Rudy Wiebe, was the editor of a major Mennonite magazine at the time of publication and as a result of his book, he was asked to resign. I don't get it, myself.

Abr 8, 2011, 1:08am

I recently picked up a copy of Good to Fault which is also set in Saskatchewan. A woman hits a car with a family in it. They are ok, but while they are being checked out at the hospital, the mother is diagnosed with Leukemia, so Clara volunteers to help the family and becomes involved in their lives.

Mayo 19, 2011, 6:43pm

Mennonites Don't Dance by Darcie Friesen Hossack is a fabulous book of short stories that take place in Saskatchewan.

Jun 15, 2011, 12:36pm

7: North to Cree Lake just went on the wishlist as it sounds like a good one.

Jun 19, 2011, 4:07pm

13: Glad to help! I found one other book at a garage sale while I was in Saskatchewan that we can add to the list:
We Swept Cornflakes out the Door: The adventures of a prairie family looks to be a story biography of a family in early Saskatchewan.

Oct 15, 2012, 12:07pm

I just read We Swept the Cornflakes out the Door by Edith Hewson--very enjoyable book.

Feb 3, 2014, 10:03pm

14 & 15. Cute title!

I'm thinking of an old one. I think it was set in Saskatchewan, yes?

Why Shoot the Teacher / Max Braithwaite

Editado: Feb 3, 2014, 10:05pm

And a couple more suggestions:
Perfection of the Morning / Sharon Butala
The Girl in Saskatoon / Sharon Butala

Feb 4, 2014, 7:34pm

Just wanted to point out that we have a Wiki now where folks can add books that match a location. You'll find the fiction one here: The non-fiction one is here:

We set up these threads as prep for the GeoCAT over in the category challenge to help folks out, but we hope that people will remember to add things at least periodically to them. If an entire series matches it, you can find the series page and link it.

Feb 4, 2014, 10:58pm

18. Cool! Thanks!

Jun 9, 2014, 4:39pm

Mennonites Don't Dance, by Darcie Friesen Hossack is a collection of short stories set in rural Saskatchewan around the Swift Currant area.

Jul 4, 2017, 11:49pm

Cool Water / Dianne Warren
4 stars

Juliet is a small town (just over 1,000 people) in Southern Saskatchewan, near Swift Current. This book follows some of the town residents (and local farmers) for one day. We meet Lee, who has taken over his “family” farm (we learn early on, that Lester and Astrid were not his biological parents); Norval, the town banker, whose daughter, just out of high school, is pregnant and is getting married… neither she nor her fiance are particularly responsible; Blaine, whose farm has failed and he is having trouble making ends meet for him and his family, including six children; and more.

I really enjoyed this. I grew up in a small town/farming community in Southern Sask, and loved reading about the area, though this town was meant to be (I believe it’s a fictional town) just north of the Trans-Canada highway by the sand dunes, whereas I lived a ways south of the highway. Either way, it’s not fast-paced, but I was drawn in and interested in the characters, anyway. It actually reminded me a bit of Kent Haruf’s books and his small town characters. It does switch between characters quite frequently, but – for the most part – I was able to fairly quickly figure out who was who and whose perspective we were getting each time.

Mar 23, 2018, 11:45pm

Small Beneath the Sky / Lorna Crozier
3.5 stars

Lorna Crozier is a poet. She was born in 1948 and grew up in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. This tells of her life, much of it during her childhood. Her family didn’t have a lot of money and her father was an alcoholic.

I liked this. I wasn’t sure at first, as there are short chapters that just seem descriptive, which I guess shows more of her poetic side, but those sections didn’t interest me nearly as much as her life stories. I grew up in Southern Sask, and my dad grew up in Swift Current, so it’s always fun to read about places you know. It’s a short book, and she did skip over a lot of stuff. Overall, though, I did enjoy the parts about her life and the familiar places.

Oct 16, 2018, 12:00am

The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre / Sarah Kathryn York
4 stars

Edouard Beaupre was born in 1881; he was Metis and was the first child born in the small Southern Saskatchwan settlement of Willow Bunch (which happens to be about an hour from where I grew up). He died in 1904 at the age of 23; he was 8’4” and still growing. He spent parts of his adult life as a giant and strongman in travelling sideshows and circuses. Where the story actually starts and ends is with a doctor who is studying his corpse.

I knew of Edouard Beaupre when I was younger, but knew him as the “Willow Bunch Giant”; I don’t remember if I knew his name when I was younger. There is a museum in Willow Bunch that I have been to, once about 15 years ago. I was very interested to find this book about him. I think I initially thought it was a biography, but it’s actually fiction, but it sounds like a lot of research went into it and so it sounds like most of it is probably fairly accurate. I found it very interesting and a little bit sad, for him.

Jul 12, 2019, 4:11pm

Who Has Seen the Wind / W.O. Mitchell
3 stars

Brian is a boy growing up in Saskatchewan in the 1930s. He lives with his parents, a younger brother, and his grandmother, whom he hates! The book starts when Brian is (I think) 4-years old and continues until he is 11 (I think).

It was ok. Pretty slow-moving, as nothing big really happens. It was just things that happened in his life as he was growing up. I grew up in Southern Sask (though in the 70s and 80s!), but “recognized” some of the small town prairie happenings (i.e. (sadly) kids trying to get gopher tails; luckily, I never saw it, just heard about it). Overall, it was ok.

Jul 16, 2019, 1:39pm

Owls in the Family / Farley Mowat
3.75 stars

Billy has a collection of animals as pets, including gophers, snakes, rats… He and a couple of friends decide they want an owl, so go looking to steal one from a nest, but instead find an injured baby owl and bring him home. They later come across a second injured one, and bring him home for company for Wol, the first owl. The two owls are very different in personality, but they both seem to not realize they are owls who can fly and do other things owls can do.

This was so short; I wish it had been longer. I felt terrible when I thought Billy was going to bring home an owl by stealing it out of a nest! There were plenty of humourous stories about Wol and Weeps. I am curious if Mowat actually had owls as pets.

Ago 6, 2019, 12:30am

A Geography of Blood / Candace Savage
4 stars

This starts off as a memoir. The author and her husband come across the town of Eastend, Saskatchewan, near Cypress Hills on their travels back home to Saskatoon from the U.S. They initially stayed for 2 weeks on vacation, but were drawn to the town enough to buy a house and live there part-time. While there, the author wrote about the landscape, the dinosaur history and the T-Rex Centre that is there, then started looking into the more recent history of the First Nations people who were there, but were driven off the land in the late 19th century once the white settlers started arriving. The last half of the book looks at the First Nations history of the area.

I probably would have given this 3.5 stars (good), except that I grew up only a couple of hours from Eastend, and have been there a few times. I can picture Eastend, the T-Rex Centre, Cypress Hills, the surrounding land, the ghost towns nearby that were mentioned... I’m sure I also once (though I didn’t remember it) learned the history of Chimney Coulee and the Cypress Hills Massacre. I’m pretty sure I’ve been to Chimney Coulee and can also picture that in my head. Good book, sad stuff about the First Nations people and everything that happened, but important to learn about.

Sep 3, 2019, 11:16pm

Upstream / Sharon Butala
3.5 stars

Chloe is ½ French and ½ English, and she grew up in Saskatchewan. When her husband heads to Scotland to work on his PhD, she discovers he has been having an affair. Not knowing what to do about her marriage, she travels for a bit with a friend, then heads to her father’s French town in Sask. for a while. While there, she learns about being French in Saskatchewan and comes across her grandmother’s diary.

Unfortunately, there were no likable characters in this book. That almost brought my rating down to 3 stars (ok). However, I got much more interested in the second half of the book when Chloe started reading her grandmother’s diary – about having to move from Quebec to Saskatchewan and starting over in an English province (though in a French town). I am not French, but I grew up in a small, primarily French, town in Saskatchewan, so I found this really interesting: the history of the Fransaskois (French-Saskatchewanians). The town this was set in was not near the town I grew up in, but it was close to Batoche, famous for the battle during the Rebellion where Louis Riel was defeated.

Sep 9, 2019, 5:19pm

Song of Batoche by Maia Caron
4.5 stars

All Canadians learn about the second Riel rebellion in Saskatchewan and yet I never felt that I understood the motivations for it. This book fills in all the gaps plus gives us the point of view of a woman in the midst of it. I thought it was really well done.

Sep 9, 2019, 9:59pm

>28 gypsysmom: Oooh, that sounds interesting...