Read Harder Challenge #6: Rural setting

May 5, 2020

Throughout 2020, All Lit Up-er Tan Light is participating in BookRiot's  Read Harder Challenge—a reading task designed to expand readerly boundaries—and doing so with an indie twist. Each entry in this series will highlight one of her completed challenges along with a list of books from All Lit Up to have you reading harder, too! 


See more details below

read harder mootoo





Challenge #6: Read a book that takes place in a rural setting

Book chosen: Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo (Book*hug Press) 


Polar Vortex will sweep you up into a day in the life of Priya, a day when her carefully isolated longings will finally converge, a day when hidden tensions both old and new will be laid bare. It is a day that will change everything about the life she's crafted in the lake-side community of Prince Edward County. Literary readers looking for an unreliable narrator will find a satisfying puzzle in Polar Vortex.



When she moves from Toronto to the idyllic villages of Prince Edward County, our narrator is both seeking a fresh start at life with a new partner, and fleeing the smoldering embers of a relationship that was never meant to be. The juxtaposition of the present in the county and the past in the city is integral to the story as these threads are drawn together. The sights of the county have a role in the story, as does the mercurial weather, but it is the isolation that really adds to the tension—dependency on a car creates intimate moments between characters at odds, and carving space for artistic practice creates room to avoid the truth.



Looking for other great stories set in rural locales?




read harder followups


Little Russia by Francis Desharnais (Pow Pow Press) 

If Tenderness Be Gold by Eleanor Albanese (Latitude 46 Publishing)

Advice for Taxidermists and Amatuer Beekeepers by Erin Emily Ann Vance (Stonehouse Publishing)

Things Worth Burying by Matt Mayr (Baraka Books)

The Weight of the Heart by Theresa Kishkan (Palimpsest Press) 



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Want to join me?  Click here for a downloadable and editable PDF of the 2020 Read Harder Challenge tasks. Stay tuned next month for more Read Harder!




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