The Golden Spruce

A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed
Author: John Vaillant
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307371328
Category: Nature
Page: 272
View: 4256

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The Golden Spruce is the story of a glorious natural wonder, the man who destroyed it, and the fascinating, troubling context in which his act took place. A tree with luminous glowing needles, the golden spruce was unique and, biologically speaking, should never have reached maturity; Grant Hadwin, the man who cut it down, was passionate, extraordinarily well-suited to wilderness survival, and to some degree unbalanced. But as John Vaillant shows, the extraordinary tree stood at the intersection of contradictory ways of looking at the world; the conflict between them is one reason it was destroyed. Taking in history, geography, science and spirituality, this book raises some of the most pressing questions facing society today. The golden spruce stood in the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), an unusually rich ecosystem where the normal lines between species blur. Without romanticizing, Vaillant shows that this understanding is typified by the Haida, the native people who have lived there for millennia, and for whom the golden spruce was an integral part of their history and mythology. But seen a different way, the golden spruce stood in block 6 of Tree Farm License 39. Grant Hadwin had worked as a remote scout for timber companies. But over time Hadwin was pushed into a paradox: the better he was at his job, the more the world he loved was destroyed. On January 20, 1997, with the temperature near zero, Hadwin swam across the Yakoun River with a chainsaw. He tore into the golden spruce, leaving it so unstable that the first wind would push it over. A few weeks later, Hadwin set off in a kayak across the treacherous Hecate Strait to face court charges. He has not been heard from since. Vaillant describes Hadwin’s actions in engrossing detail, but also provides the complex environmental, political and economic context in which they took place. The Golden Spruce forces one to ask: can the damage our civilization exacts on the natural world be justified?

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed


Author: John Vaillant
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393075571
Category: Nature
Page: 288
View: 9267

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A tale of obsession so fierce that a man kills the thing he loves most: the only giant golden spruce on earth. When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Northwest, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell. As vividly as John Krakauer puts readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest.

The Golden Spruce

A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed
Author: John Vaillant
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1448166381
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 352
View: 7025

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On a bleak winter night in 1997, a British Columbia timber scout named Grant Hadwin committed an act of shocking violence: he destroyed the legendary Golden Spruce of the Queen Charlotte Islands. With its rich colours, towering height and luminous needles, the tree was a scientific marvel, beloved by the local Haida people who believed it sacred. The Golden Spruce tells the story of the sadness which pushed Hadwin to such a desperate act of destruction - a bizarre environmental protest which acts as a metaphor for the challenge the world faces today. But it also raises the question of what then happened to Hadwin, who disappeared under suspicious circumstances and remains missing to this day. Part thrilling mystery, part haunting depiction of the ancient beauty of the coastal wilderness, and part dramatic chronicle of the historical collision of Europeans and the native Haida, The Golden Spruce is a timely portrait of man's troubled relationship with a vanishing world.

The Tiger

A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
Author: John Vaillant
Publisher: Knopf Canada
ISBN: 0307375277
Category: Political Science
Page: 352
View: 921

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It's December 1997 and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia's Far East. The tiger isn't just killing people, it's annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. To their horrified astonishment it emerges that the attacks are not random: the tiger is engaged in a vendetta. Injured and starving, it must be found before it strikes again, and the story becomes a battle for survival between the two main characters: Yuri Trush, the lead tracker, and the tiger itself. As John Vaillant vividly recreates the extraordinary events of that winter, he also gives us an unforgettable portrait of a spectacularly beautiful region where plants and animals exist that are found nowhere else on earth, and where the once great Siberian Tiger - the largest of its species, which can weigh over 600 lbs at more than 10 feet long - ranges daily over vast territories of forest and mountain, its numbers diminished to a fraction of what they once were. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers - even sharing their kills with them - in a natural balance. We witness the first arrival of settlers, soldiers and hunters in the tiger's territory in the 19th century and 20th century, many fleeing Stalinism. And we come to know the Russians of today - such as the poacher Vladimir Markov - who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching for the corrupt, high-paying Chinese markets. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters and how early Homo sapiens may have once fit seamlessly into the tiger's ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator, and the grave threat it faces as logging and poaching reduce its habitat and numbers - and force it to turn at bay. Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger is a gripping tale of man and nature in collision, that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the Siberian forest. From the Hardcover edition.

The Jaguar's Children

A Novel
Author: John Vaillant
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 0544290089
Category: Fiction
Page: 288
View: 3360

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This “extraordinary” novel of one man’s border crossing reveals “a human history of sorrow and suffering, all of it beginning with the thirst to be free” (NPR). Héctor is trapped. The water truck, sealed to hide its human cargo, has broken down. The coyotes have taken all the passengers’ money for a mechanic and have not returned. Héctor finds a name in his friend César’s phone: AnniMac. A name with an American number. He must reach her, both for rescue and to pass along the message César has come so far to deliver. But are his messages going through? Over four days, as water and food run low, Héctor tells how he came to this desperate place. His story takes us from Oaxaca—its rich culture, its rapid change—to the dangers of the border, exposing the tangled ties between Mexico and El Norte. And it reminds us of the power of storytelling and the power of hope, as Héctor fights to ensure his message makes it out of the truck and into the world. Both an outstanding suspense novel and an arresting window into the relationship between two great cultures, The Jaguar’s Children shows how deeply interconnected all of us are. “This is what novels can do—illuminate shadowed lives, enable us to contemplate our own depths of kindness, challenge our beliefs about fate. Vaillant’s use of fact to inspire fiction brings to mind a long list of powerful novels from the past decade or so: What is the What by Dave Eggers; The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif; The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.” —Amanda Eyre Ward, The New York Times Book Review “[A] heartbreaker . . . Wrenching . . . with a voice fresh and plangent enough to disarm resistance.” —The Boston Globe “Fearless.” —The Globe and Mail

Eating Dirt

Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe
Author: Charlotte Gill
Publisher: Greystone Books Ltd
ISBN: 1553657926
Category: Nature
Page: 247
View: 3329

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Winner of the BC National Award for Non-Fiction, and short-listed for both the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the 2011 Hilary Weston Writer's Trust Award. Eating Dirt is an extended postcard from the cut blocks—a vivid portrayal of one woman's life planting trees, her insights into the forest industry and its environmental implications, and a celebration of the wonder of trees. Charlotte Gill spent almost twenty years working as a tree planter in the forests of Canada. During her million-tree career, she encountered hundreds of clear-cuts, each one a collision site between human civilization and the natural world. Charged with sowing the new forest in these clear-cuts, tree planters are a tribe caught between the stumps and the virgin timber, between environmentalists and loggers. Also available in paperback.

Raven Walks Around the World

Life of a Wandering Activist
Author: Thom Henley
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
ISBN: 1550178083
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: N.A
View: 6389

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In 1970, twenty-two-year-old Thom Henley left Michigan and drifted around the northwest coast, getting by on odd jobs and advice from even odder characters. He rode the rails, built a squatter shack on a beach, came to be known as "Huckleberry" and embarked on adventures along the West Coast and abroad that, just like his Mark Twain namesake, situated him in all the right and wrong places at all the right and wrong times. Eventually, a hippie named Stormy directed him to Haida Gwaii where, upon arrival, a Haida Elder affirmed to the perplexed Huckleberry that she had been expecting him. From that point onward, Henley's life unfolded as if destiny were at work--perhaps with a little help from Raven, the legendary trickster. While kayaking the remote area around South Moresby Island, Henley was struck by the clear-cut logging and desecration of ancient Haida village sites. Henley collaborated with the Haida for the next fourteen years to spearhead the largest environmental campaign in Canadian history and the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park. Later, he became a co-founder of Rediscovery--a wilderness program for First Nations and non-aboriginal youth that would become a global model for reconciliation. Henley's story is peppered with a cast of unlikely characters serendipitously drawn together, such as the time he hosted then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and entourage, including five-year-old Justin Trudeau, at his remote driftwood hippie hut (the visit was unanticipated and at the time the helicopter touched down, Henley and a friend were doing laundry). Over and over, Henley found himself at the epicentre of significant events that included a historic train caravan across Canada, an epic Haida canoe voyage, an indigenous rights campaign world tour for the Penan tribespeople of Borneo, as well as two global disasters--the 2004 South Asian tsunami and the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Beautifully recounted with passion, humour and humility, Raven Walks around the World is a moving and thoughtful account of a life lived in harmony with the land and community.

Shake Hands With the Devil

The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
Author: Romeo Dallaire
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307371190
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 592
View: 1588

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On the tenth anniversary of the date that UN peacekeepers landed in Rwanda, Random House Canada is proud to publish the unforgettable first-hand account of the genocide by the man who led the UN mission. Digging deep into shattering memories, General Dallaire has written a powerful story of betrayal, naïveté, racism and international politics. His message is simple and undeniable: “Never again.” When Lt-Gen. Roméo Dallaire received the call to serve as force commander of the UN intervention in Rwanda in 1993, he thought he was heading off on a modest and straightforward peacekeeping mission. Thirteen months later he flew home from Africa, broken, disillusioned and suicidal, having witnessed the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in only a hundred days. In Shake Hands with the Devil, he takes the reader with him on a return voyage into the hell of Rwanda, vividly recreating the events the international community turned its back on. This book is an unsparing eyewitness account of the failure by humanity to stop the genocide, despite timely warnings. Woven through the story of this disastrous mission is Dallaire’s own journey from confident Cold Warrior, to devastated UN commander, to retired general engaged in a painful struggle to find a measure of peace, reconciliation and hope. This book is General Dallaire’s personal account of his conversion from a man certain of his worth and secure in his assumptions to a man conscious of his own weaknesses and failures and critical of the institutions he’d relied on. It might not sit easily with standard ideas of military leadership, but understanding what happened to General Dallaire and his mission to Rwanda is crucial to understanding the moral minefields our peacekeepers are forced to negotiate when we ask them to step into the world’s dirty wars. Excerpt from Shake Hands with the Devil My story is not a strictly military account nor a clinical, academic study of the breakdown of Rwanda. It is not a simplistic indictment of the many failures of the UN as a force for peace in the world. It is not a story of heroes and villains, although such a work could easily be written. This book is a cri de coeur for the slaughtered thousands, a tribute to the souls hacked apart by machetes because of their supposed difference from those who sought to hang on to power. . . . This book is the account of a few humans who were entrusted with the role of helping others taste the fruits of peace. Instead, we watched as the devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect. From the Hardcover edition.

First Light

The Search for the Edge of the Universe
Author: Richard Preston
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0307817423
Category: Science
Page: 300
View: 9660

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Seven years before Richard Preston wrote about horrifying viruses in The Hot Zone, he turned his attention to the cosmos. In First Light, he demonstrates his gift for creating an exciting and absorbing narrative around a complex scientific subject--in this case the efforts by astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains of California to peer to the farthest edges of space through the Hale Telescope, attempting to solve the riddle of the creation of the universe. Richard Preston's name became a household word with The Hot Zone, which sold nearly 800,000 copies in hardcover, was on The New York Times's bestseller list for 42 weeks, and was the subject of countless magazine and newspaper articles. Preston has become a sought-after commentator on popular science subjects. For this hardcover reprint of what has been called "the best popular account of astronomy in action," (Kirkus Reviews) he has revised the text and written a new introduction.

The Wild Trees

A Story of Passion and Daring
Author: Richard Preston
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588366030
Category: Science
Page: 320
View: 4739

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Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored. The canopy voyagers are young–just college students when they start their quest–and they share a passion for these trees, persevering in spite of sometimes crushing personal obstacles and failings. They take big risks, they ignore common wisdom (such as the notion that there’s nothing left to discover in North America), and they even make love in hammocks stretched between branches three hundred feet in the air. The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems that have fused and formed flying buttresses, sometimes carved into blackened chambers, hollowed out by fire, called “fire caves.” Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life that is unknown to science. Humans move through the deep canopy suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, knowing that the price of a small mistake can be a plunge to one’s death. Preston’s account of this amazing world, by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, is an adventure story told in novelistic detail by a master of nonfiction narrative. The author shares his protagonists’ passion for tall trees, and he mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to tell the story in The Wild Trees–the story of the fate of the world’s most splendid forests and of the imperiled biosphere itself. From the Hardcover edition.

The Final Forest

Big Trees, Forks, and the Pacific Northwest
Author: William Dietrich
Publisher: University of Washington Press
ISBN: 9780295802251
Category: History
Page: 320
View: 2276

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2011 Outstanding Title, University Press Books for Public and Secondary School LibrariesWinner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award Before Forks, a small town on Washington�s Olympic Peninsula, became famous as the location for Stephenie Meyer�s Twilight book series, it was the self-proclaimed �Logging Capital of the World� and ground zero in a regional conflict over the fate of old-growth forests. Since Pulitzer Prize�winning journalist William Dietrich first published The Final Forest in 1992, logging in Forks has given way to tourism, but even with its new fame, Forks is still a home to loggers and others who make their living from the surrounding forests. The new edition recounts how forest policy and practices have changed since the early 1990s and also tells us what has happened in Forks and where the actors who were so important to the timber wars are now. For more information on the author to to: http://williamdietrich.com/

Haida Gwaii

Journeys Through the Queen Charlotte Islands
Author: Ian Gill
Publisher: Raincoast Books
ISBN: 9781551926865
Category: Travel
Page: 149
View: 9295

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Native artist Bill Reid once called Haida Gwaii, home to the Haida people, the "Shining Islands." This revised edition in Raincoast's popular Journeys series shows why. Known also as "Canada’s Gal�pagos," these islands are a natural marvel, featuring awesome vistas and a rich ecosystem. The islands also offer more than 400 cultural sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage village of Ninstints. Ian Gill's lively text and David Nunuk's dramatic photographs celebrate this unique, still relatively unspoiled place.

Six String Nation


Author: Jowi Taylor
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre Limited
ISBN: 9781553653936
Category: History
Page: 129
View: 5019

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A musical quilt, this unique guitar becomes a passionate metaphor for Canada. The Six String Nation guitar, Voyageur, is made from sixty-seven pieces of Canadian history: Pierre Trudeau's canoe paddle is a tone bar, the Grey Nuns convent in Winnipeg-once a classroom to Louis Riel-makes up the back and sides, Paul Henderson's hockey stick from the 1972 Canada/Russia Summit Series is a detail on the pickguard, the sacred Golden Spruce of Haida Gwaii forms the top face and gold from Maurice Richard's 1955-56 Stanley Cup ring adorns the ninth fret. Thanks to a crazed determination to share this guitar and his impassioned vision of Canada with as many Canadians as possible, Taylor has taken the guitar to festivals, conferences, schools and community events, from sea to sea to sea. Along the way, countless citizens have added their own definitions of what it means to be Canadian, either through music or the very act of engaging with this object that is at once artifact and living instrument. Six String Nation allows them to, literally, hold history in their hands-and add a little harmony of their own. Illustrated with documentary photos and gorgeous portraits of the people that Voyageur has encountered, Six String Nation chronicles the journey of one special guitar, from conception through construction to the road it still travels across our land.

Great Soul of Siberia

Passion, Obsession, and One Man's Quest for the World's Most Elusive Tiger
Author: Sooyong Park
Publisher: Greystone Books
ISBN: 1771641142
Category: Nature
Page: 340
View: 5377

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In The Great Soul of Siberia, renowned tiger researcher Sooyong Park tracks three generations of Siberian tigers living in remote southeastern Russia. Reminiscent of the way Timothy Treadwell (the so-called Grizzly Man) immersed himself in the lives of bears, Park sets up underground bunkers to observe the tigers, living thrillingly close to these beautiful but dangerous apex predators. At the same time, he draws from twenty years of experience and research to focus on the Siberian tigers’ losing battle against poaching and diminishing habitat. Over the two years of his harrowing stakeout, Park’s poignant and poetic observations of the tigers draw a fiercely compassionate portrait of these elusive, endangered creatures.

Coast Redwood

A Natural and Cultural History
Author: Michael G. Barbour,John Evarts,Marjorie Popper
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780962850554
Category: Nature
Page: 228
View: 6095

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On Island

Life Among the Coast Dwellers
Author: Pat Carney
Publisher: TouchWood Editions
ISBN: 1771512113
Category: Fiction
Page: 304
View: 5268

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A collection of stories chronicling the characters and dramas that capture life in small coastal communities. In this story collection, Pat Carney follows the rhythms of day-to-day life in coastal BC. Featuring a revolving cast of characters—the newly retired couple, the church warden, the musician, the small-town girl with big city dreams—Carney’s keen observations of the personalities and dramas of coastal life are instantly recognizable to readers who are familiar with life in a small community. With her narrative of dock fights, pet shows, family feuds, logging camps and the ever-present tension between islanders and property-owning “off-islanders,” Carney’s witty and perceptive voice describes how the islanders weather the storms of coastal life. Carney writes evocatively of the magical landscape of the British Columbia coast, where she has lived and worked for five decades. At the same time, she addresses the less-idyllic moments that can also characterize coastal life: power outages, winter storms, isolation. On Island brings the West Coast landscape—human and natural—to life, and gives islanders and mainland dwellers alike a taste of what it means to be “on island.”

Heart of the Raincoast

A Life Story
Author: Alexandra Morton,Bill Proctor
Publisher: TouchWood Editions
ISBN: 1926971221
Category: Nature
Page: 224
View: 412

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Originally published in 1998, this updated edition has a brand-new cover and new foreword by Alexandra Morton. Billy Proctor was born in 1934 and has spent his entire life in a remote coastal community called Echo Bay, BC on an island off northern Vancouver Island. Proctor has always done the time-honoured work of generations of upcoast men—hand-logging, fishing, clam digging, repairing boats, beachcombing. But Billy eventually began to notice that the thriving runs of Pacific salmon, oolichans, and herring that he remembers from his early years were vanishing—some to near extinction—and he understood that it was time to take action. Heart of the Raincoast is the fascinating story of Billy Proctor’s life, and the wealth of knowledge and understanding that can only be gained from living in such close proximity to nature. The writing is funny, touching and honest—and offers an engaging insider’s view not only of the salmon, whales, eagles and independent people who populate Canada’s wild and lovely coastal rainforest, but on what we need to do to keep it as nature intended.

The Curve Of Time


Author: M. Wylie Blanchet
Publisher: Pickle Partners Publishing
ISBN: 178625834X
Category: History
Page: 199
View: 3234

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“Time did not exist; or if it did it did not mater. Our world then was both wide and narrow—wide in the immensity of the sea and mountain; narrow in that the boat was very small, and we lived and camped, explored and swam in a little realm of our own making...” This is the fascinating true adventure story of a woman who packed her five children onto a twenty-five-foot boat and explored the coastal waters of British Columbia summer after summer in the 1920s and 1930s. Acting single-handedly as skipper, navigator, engineer and of course, mother, Muriel Wylie Blanchet saw her crew through exciting—and sometimes perilous—encounters with fog; rough seas, cougars, bears and whales, and did so with high spirits and courage. On these pages an independent woman with a deep respect for the native cultures of a region, and a refreshing wonderment about the natural world, comes to life. In The Curve of Time, she has left us with a sensitive and lyrically written account of their journeys and a timeless travel memoir not to be missed.

Pathologies

A Life in Essays
Author: Susan Olding
Publisher: Freehand Books
ISBN: 1460400178
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 272
View: 8773

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“In simple terms, pathology is the scientific study of the way things go wrong.” In these fifteen searingly honest personal essays, debut author Susan Olding takes us on an unforgettable journey into the complex heart of being human. Each essay dissects an aspect of Olding’s life experience—from her vexed relationship with her father to her tricky dealings with her female peers; from her work as a counsellor and teacher to her persistent desire, despite struggles with infertility, to have children of her own. In a suite of essays forming the emotional climax of the book, Olding bravely recounts the adoption of her daughter, Maia, from an orphanage in China, and tells us the story of Maia’s difficult adaptation to the unfamiliar state of being loved. Written with as much lyricism, detail, and artfulness as the best short stories, the essays in Pathologies provide all the pleasures of fiction combined with the enrichment derived from the careful presentation of fact. Susan Olding is indisputably one of Canada’s finest new writers, one who has taken the challenging, much-underused form of the literary essay and made it her own.