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Karen Hofmann: Barefoot Girls and Wild Women

Karen Hofmann's first novel is After Alice, which author Angie Abdou has calledun "a rich novel with big heart.” In this list, she recommends wild Canadian heroines who have much in common with the fascinating female characters in her book. 

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This is a list of Canadian books with female characters who break the rules, ignore decorum, sin, err, shoot at people, take off their shoes in public, love who they shouldn’t, and otherwise transgress. These unconventional woman are also associated with the landscape—not in the classic sense of fertility and cultivation, but in their ability to discover or rediscover and draw on their inherent, individual, untrammelled selves.

Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson

Maggie Lloyd has had more than her share of sadness and loss. One day she puts down a dish she is drying and walks out the back door, away from her sour, narrow, controlling husband, Eddie, and takes a job in a rugged resort at Three Loons Lake (reputed to be an alias for Lac le Jeune, near Kamloops, in BC’s Interior). Both Maggie, who is unconventiona …

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Writing Your Way Into Landscape: Guest Post by Jenna Butler

Book Cover Seldom Seen Road

Writing your way into (toward) a landscape is a tricky thing, a continual process of navigation, negotiation, re-visioning. I’m in awe of those who do it well, and turn often to the likes of Candace Savage and Sharon Butala, Robert Kroetsch, John Newlove, and Di Brandt.

Book Cover I See My Love More Clearly

I was talking with poet Nora Gould about this a handful of months back; her book I see my love more clearly from a distance, set in the ranching country of southeastern Alberta, has become a touchstone for me. We were deep into a conversation about the similarities between farming and ranching life, mostly the close attention to the natural world in all weather. I’ve spoken of this before with other rural friends, and usually the discussion shifts to the differences between ranching and farming: mobility versus stasis, that certain hardship out on a cattle drive versus the farmhouse just back over the rise if anything goes wrong. But with Nora, I felt the deep companionship inherent in setting those dividing lines aside and focusing on commonality: the weather, the seasons, the sto …

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