Like Gabrielle Roy's other works set in rural French Canada, these four stories (two new, two revised) deftly trace the contours of provincial or emigrant sensibilities. A father's faceless siblings and muffled Quebec childhood come alive on the isolated plain with the appearance of ""A Tramp at the Door,"" a shabby cousin who briefly enriches their lives with stories of long-lost relatives until his imposture is revealed. Another story, more evanescent, follows the roller-coaster fortunes of Sam Lee Wong, an unlikely Saskatchewan restaurateur who must move on when his dilemma, mistranslated, results in a retirement party. Melancholy ""Hoodoo Valley"" is the chosen exile settlement of some tenacious Caucasian Doukhobors who prefer parched land with a fugitive mountain mirage to more fertile terrain with no reminders of the past. And the title story, as disquieting as the first, shares the barely mellowing interchange between a grudging, hateful farmer and his ailing wife as he, anticipating life without her, reluctantly communicates by tending her garden--a turnaround conveyed without sentimentality or flashing lights. Muted visions imparted with an unforced felicity.
Pub Date: March 20, 1978
Page Count: -
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart--dist. by Lippincott