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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > July August 2016 > The Spawning Grounds

The Spawning Grounds

Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Knopf Canada

FIRE IS the element that threatens the people and land of south-central B.C.’s Thompson-Shuswap region in Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s 2007 novel, Turtle Valley. The author’s latest book is set in the same landscape, but this time it is water that figures prominently as a source of both life and destruction.

On one side of the fictional Lightning River – once teeming with sockeye salmon, now drying up as a result of erosion, logging, and development – is a Secwepemc (known in English as Shuswap) indigenous community engaged in a land dispute aimed at protecting and restoring the river and the sacred salmon. On the other side are the Robertsons, a white ranching family whose 19th-century forbear, Eugene Robertson, settled the land and took Libby, a Shuswap girl, for his wife, with tragic results. Anderson-Dargatz cleverly reveals Eugene’s remarkable story alongside the present-day narrative, highlighting the multigenerational history of the family’s relationship to the river and its surroundings.

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FALL PREVIEW More than 145 new titles to make the season a colourful one. Raizel Robin, Brian Francis, Angie Abdou, Melanie Fishbone and more contribute. ZOE WHITTAL defies categorization with her timely new novel. BORDER CROSSINGS In telling the fraught tale of a desperate foreigner in the U.S., David Bergen has written arguably his best novel. Stranger.