on May 25, 2010
Once again Sylvia Maultash Warsh has written a gripping novel which manages to be both informative and intelligent. Departing from her usual "mystery" genre this Edgar Allen Poe winner utilizes her familiar techniques of interweaving history with contemporary times ( in this case, the 1970's in Ontario Canada). The story revolves around Mel, an ambitious but confused graduate student who convinces the legendary Northrop Frye to become her Ph.D thesis supervisor. IHer thesis topic will explore E.J Pratt's epic poem, "Brebeuf and His Brethren." Well known academic figures of the '70's come alive in Warsh's depictions of them. But even more revealing are the book's core chapters as Mel becomes a guide at Ste- Marie Among The Hurons Mission site in order to glean more insight into the life and struggles of Jesuit Father Jean de Brebeuf and his companions. In her imagination she takes on the persona of the martyred missionary, giving the reader a glimpse of him in his humanity - a depiction which has clarity and authenticity. Tension builds as Mel is torn between coming to terms with who she really is (letting go of her "unforgetting") and the risks of exposure she faces from a jilted lover. Truly, a book to be savoured on lazy summer afternoons or frosty winter nights.