Where in Canada: The Woods of Protection Island

November 16, 2016

When forfeiting the trappings of city life for an island one, Amber McMillan's young family in her memoir,  The Woods (Nightwood Editions), expect the idealism of a life closer to nature. Instead, they confront a different reality: a loss of anonymity in the micro-community of Protection Island.

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The Woods: A Year on Protection Island (Nightwood Editions, 2016)


Amber McMillan is the author of The Woods: A Year on Protection Island (2016) and the poetry collection  We Can’t Ever Do This Again (2015). Her work has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, PRISM International, Best Canadian Poetry and other journals across North America. She lives and works on BC’s Sunshine Coast.

Where in Canada:

Amber McMillan's memoir The Woods begins in downtown Toronto, following a family as they move to a small gulf island – Protection Island – off the west coast of Canada. Protection boasts a population of under 300 people, and has no cars.

At the outset, McMillan has a typical perspective on island life: one of hopeful optimism, curiosity and wistful fantasy, an escape from big-city life for the author and her young family. As the author soon realizes, the measure of one's success on Protection does not rely on status or income but on the ability to adapt both the rigorous outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, and equally challenging human community of need, trade, and negotiated civility. The family's idealism towards island life quickly turns to one of paranoia, suspicion and frustration as they discover the truth about living in a micro community.

This is the first book ever to have been published that focuses on Protection Island. No other author has chosen to write about this place, and as a result, this book acts as a literary testament to this small and unique community in Canada.

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Thanks to Nathaniel at Nightwood for sharing this book with us! For more literary locales, click here.


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