By Lynn Willoughby
The Spawning Grounds ~ Gail Anderson-Dargatz
I really liked this author’s early books but the last two have turned into environmental issues; Indigenous peoples struggles are thrown in as well.
This novel takes place in south-central BC in the Thompson-Shushwap region. It seems very formulaic to say it is a book about the Native people in a land dispute with a developer. The fear is that further development, after logging and ranching, will be the end of the sacred sockeye salmon. Erosion, log jambs, warmer water temperature have all caused the salmon population to dwindle.
So we have the reserve on one side of the river and the Robertson family ranch on the other side. We get the old native stories and the legends, we get the present day narrative we get the clash of cultures and dividends.
I never really connected with any of the characters and often couldn’t remember who was who. None seemed very likable or strong. The old family stories of the river monster, the dreams, the “water mystery” always seemed contrived and the conclusion just spirals down into sentimentality. It seemed to me that the message the author was trying to achieve overshadowed character and plot development leaving me very disappointed.
- The Cure For Death by Lightning
- Turtle Valley
Sockeye young, known as fry, are tiny swimmers that can get through very small fissures. They have been known to come out of faucets where wells are the water source.