Last Canadian Book Challenge Steve Zipp sent me a copy of his book Yellowknife. I never did get around to reading it then but made sure I would for the second Canadian Book Challenge. I'm glad I did.
Yellowknife follows the lives of a collection of quirky characters who find themselves in Yellowknife, NWT at the end of the last century. There are drifters, scientists, politicians, con men, natives, and a bunch of others. There is no central character but all of their stories become entangled throughout the novel. Yellowknife itself is a character, always dangling a golden carrot just out of all their reaches.
I just loved this book. The writing was more than I expected. Smooth and lyrical with great humour. The characters were well developed. I got attached to them as soon as they arrived on the page. In fact, I wondered what happens to each of them after the book ends. Ever read a book like that?
I've never been to the North. It really does seem like a mysterious place to me. Zipp painted a picture of a place of gritty industrialism and endless wilderness. I felt like I was there. So many bizarre incidents happen in the novel. (My favorites were the snowmobile stealing dog and the hockey rink in Russia). But they all fit in well and keep a nice pace. I also enjoyed the sprinkling of magical realism. There is a fine line between myth and reality in Yellowknife.
I highly recommend Yellowknife, whether you're Canadian or not.