Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Geography of Blood: Candace Savage

"The boundary between the banal and the momentous is often eerily thin," Candace Savage writes in her award-winning new book, A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape (Greystone Books, 2012).  

I love the prairies. However, perhaps because I'm relatively new to Saskatchewan (in one way, though in another, not new at all) — I have little sense of the history of recent settlement here.

To read Geography of Blood was for me to become immersed in a past so recent and violent, it felt it must belong to a completely different dimension. But it's ours. And it's shared by the wider world beyond the Cypress Hills country of Saskatchewan.
"The stories the hills have to tell are bigger than their pinpoint settings, larger than 'X marks the spot' on a map. At different times, in different ways, what happened here also happened everywhere else across the North American plains, from the Llano Estacado to the Grande Prairie. The Cypress Hills are a landscape that connects all the dots and offers its teachings to even the most fretful and unwitting of pilgrims."   
There is also great beauty and ....
"Better to go outdoors. Better to see the flash of warblers in the willows, to smell the spicy aroma of sage, to hear the bright gurgle of the creek as it speeds under the footbridge. Better just to be here and try to accept the solace of this land that refuses to let us forget."  
For an excerpt of Candace Savage's Geography of Blood, visit Greystone. And look for Candace Savage at Moose Jaw's Festival of Words this summer (2013).


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