on September 22, 1999
Storyteller Hugh Cook is at home writing stories with humor, empathy and a sense of extraordinary grace in the ordinary. He breathes life into small-town Dutch Reformed Canadian characters so well that you think you might like to put down the book and travel to the town of Alfalfa, but putting down the book is not that easy. It sticks to your fingers like marshmallows on a hot night around the campfire. Besides that, Alfalfa is not a town you'd find on a roadmap, but you will recognize the coffeehouse (center of town, center of information) and the town churches (centers of controversy and accidental holy moments). Throughout the book you may find yourself affirming one wife's viewpoint and then having to change your mind when you hear her husband's side of the story. You might shake your head ruefully or bust a gut laughing or sometimes--as I did throughout one chapter late in the book--you will cry and keep wiping away tears because you want to keep reading. Just because it's true. It doesn't cheat; it stays honest. How novel.