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Turtle Valley Paperback – Jun 3 2008
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Praise for Gail Anderson-Dargatz:
“Anderson-Dargatz has something that no amount of craft can give a writer: She is hopelessly in love with and attentive to her subject, the physical world and all its gifts.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Those who go hunting for ‘the next Margaret Laurence’ or ‘the next Alice Munro’ might find themselves perusing Gail Anderson-Dargatz. . . . If Margaret Laurence were alive today, she’d be looking over her shoulder–not with worry, but anticipation. Anderson-Dargatz is the real thing.”
“Anderson-Dargatz’s characters are vulnerable yet valiant as they thrust at the encroaching darkness. A rich blend of magic realism and brooding poetry, her writing is by turns warm and chilling, tempered to the mysteries of nurturing and nature. Her command of imagery and dialogue is nothing less than remarkable.”
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Turtle Valley is the fifth book to come from talented Canadian author Gail Anderson-Dargatz, whose novels have been published in several languages worldwide. Her first novel The Cure For Death By Lightning met with terrific acclaim and garnered her the UK’s Betty Trask Award and a nomination for Canada’s Giller Prize. A Recipe For Bees soon followed with nominations for the Giller and the IMPAC Dublin Award. A Rhinestone Button was a national bestseller in Canada and her first book, The Miss Hereford Stories, was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.
Her style has been called “Margaret Laurence meets Gabriel García Márquez” because her writing tends towards magic realism, but Anderson-Dargatz says the ghosts and premonitions in her novels arise from her family’s stories of the Shuswap-Thompson area, which she carefully transcribed. “My father passed on the rich stories and legends about the region I grew up in, which he heard from the interior Salish natives he worked with,” she explains. “And my mother told me tales of her own premonitions, and of ghosts, eccentrics and dark deeds that haunted the area.”
Anderson-Dargatz has recently moved home to British Columbia’s Shuswap-Thompson area, that landscape found in so much of her writing. She is married to photographer Mitch Krupp, who took the beautiful photos that are reproduced throughout Turtle Valley. Now at work on her next novel, she is an adjunct professor in the creative writing optional-residency MFA program at the University of British Columbia.
Of her inspiration for Turtle Valley, Anderson-Dargatz writes, “It all started back in 1998 when I helped evacuate my parents from the Salmon Arm fire. Almost the whole city was evacuated, in what was the largest peacetime evacuation in the history of BC up to that time. It was both terrifying and visually beautiful, as fire quite literally rained down on the Salmon River Valley. Even as we went through it, I knew I would write of it someday, and I did, in Turtle Valley.”
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The story starts slowly with Kat returning to her family's home to help her aging parents prepare in case of an evacuation order. To add to the stress she is accompanied by her young child Jeremy and her husband Ezra who is recovering from a stroke and can be very irritable at times. An added problem is the fact that her former lover Jude who she still has feelings for lives across the road from her mom and dad.
Tensions build when the out of control flames rush down the hillside posing an eminent threat to the valley and its inhabitants. Kat hurries to put the family's heirlooms in order and with the heighten adrenaline and stress everyone's mind starts to play tricks on them. The family house's haunted past comes to life, some see a creepy old man and the shadow of an old lady appear and disappear into thin air and no one can explain why the burners of the stove are on.
The eerie plot and the revelation of the family secrets are somewhat predictable. I found the torment between Kat and Ezra drawn out and that some of the scenes are hard to grasp no matter what dark secrets they may reveal. The writing gets magical when Turtle Valley catches fire and all hell breaks loose. The author's descriptive scenes of falling ash and trees turning into roman candles as the fire rages through are guarantied to leave a strong image in ones mind. In whole, the author's writing is quite engaging, the plot is unique and captivating, and the cast of characters is diversified and well developed.
With "Turtle Valley", I felt slowly plunged into the world of fantasy with a touch of realism. Well done Ms Anderson- Dargatz
. Living in close proximity to the setting of Turtle Valley and recognizing some of the locales mentioned I never imagined that this book would be so powerful in it's captivation. It was almost like I was there, beside the characters, smelling the smoke as they did, experiencing the terror as the evil entity drew near, and feeling the heart break of the fragile relationships, as well as the inner strength of family. I woke up this morning with a major book hangover. I feel like I am still in Turtle Valley, that I can just get in my car and drive to see Kat.
Now THAT....is something only a good book can do.