On a deserted prairie road, a middle-aged hunter encounters a stranded teenager who's running from one kind of trouble to another. A lonely ferry operator fantasizes about a Native girl and at the same time tries to make sense of his relationship with his dying father. A fatherless boy finds himself on the rocky road to manhood when he starts work on the oil rigs. After losing his wife, his job and his home, a man buys a seedy highway-side campground and tries to figure out whether this is the end or a new beginning.
These are the landscapes that Michael Hetherton explores: barren, harsh, unforgiving. And just as he captures these stark interiors, so he captures the land on which they play out: windswept, forlorn and - in many cases - well along in the process of being abandoned. But with their own beauty and spirit nonetheless.
These are stories of alienation, of failures to connect and to communicate, of the seemingly random inevitability of fate. These are also stories that take place in a vividly drawn landscape - treeless prairie, lonesome camps out in the bush, dark and angry rivers, oppressive and rumbling skies, disappearing (and disappeared) villages, the chaotic oil patch.
With an assured and deliberate hand that belies the fact that this is his first book, Hetherton has created worlds of quiet sadness and longing, worlds in which people struggle to find their place and then, after a while, just struggle. But life, like the endless prairie itself, goes on. And so do those who call these landscapes home.
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Michael Hetherton's work has been published in, among others, The Greensboro Review, NeWest Review, South Dakota Review and GRAIN. He lives with his wife and two children in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Grasslands is his first book publication.
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Book Description Coteau Books, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, 2003. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. 1st Edition. 319pp. Photo illustrated wrap. A new book. Bookseller Inventory # 034995