12 Days of CanLit: 3 Fraught Timelines

December 10, 2014

We’re doing a spin on the classic holiday ditty, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with our 12 Days of CanLit series this holiday season. Sing along with our countdown of themed book picks, straight down to our number 1 (that’s 78 books in all!).

On the tenth day of the 12 Days of CanLit, we go backward and forward in time – dizzying!

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3FraughtTimelines

It’s day ten of our holiday CanLit countdown, and we’ve got just six great books left to share. If only we had more time, like the time-jumping protagonists of these three titles. Where you’re reading, you won’t need roads.

 

The Search for Heinrich Schlögel
by Martha Baillie (Pedlar Press)

Heinrich Schlögel, a young German man, yearns for the Canadian North after growing up reading a translation of Samuel Hearne’s A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean. His trip to, and lonely hike across, Baffin Island takes a strange turn when he steps inside the fissure of a stone and leaves it tens of years into the future. Stranger still, his story is interrupted and incomplete: it is not Heinrich who tells the reader of his journey, but an archivist obsessed with finding him. Her archive is expansive but does lack, and her own suppositions and notations are included as footnotes in this compelling read.

 

Believing Cedric
by Mark Lavorato (Brindle & Glass)

Cedric Johnson’s personal history can’t stay still. He jumps at random from his present-day life as a middle-aged insurance broker, to his desk as a third-grade student, to his awkward teenage years, and other points in his life, besides. What’s unclear is why it’s happening, and to what end: he can issue words of warning to those who have passed through his life, but how to change what he already regrets? And worse yet, how to convince others at each step of his life that he’s not as he seems? Lavorato’s book is a testament to memory, loss, and the pressing importance of each moment in life, no matter how small they may seem.

 

Hannah and the Spindle Whorl
by Carol Anne Shaw (Ronsdale Press)

After her mother passes away, there is not a lot of joy in twelve-year-old Hannah’s life. Restless in her Cowichan Bay home, Hannah discovers an ancient Salish spindle whorl while exploring a nearby cave. The whorl transports her to a pre-settler Salish village called Tl’lupalus, where she and new friend Yisella watch the whorl in action as employed by Yisella’s mother, a famous spinner and weaver. In that time, Hannah learns not only of the richness of Salish culture but also potent threats to it, namely a shipful of settlers bent on acquiring precious “souvenirs” – like the spindle whorl – from the town.

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*****

Great Scott! Having been backward, forward, and everywhere in between in time, I’m looking forward to taking life minute-by-minute. Especially so, with our next day’s picks: two child-narrators in poignantly grown-up novels. Also, don't miss out on the rest of our series: you can catch up by heading  here.


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