Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe

A Canada Reads winner from several years back, The Last Crossing probably doesn't need much promotion from me. It's a richly layered historical fiction, told from multiple viewpoints, about a couple of English brothers who go to North America in the nineteenth century to search for their missing missionary sibling. A woman is also one of the central protagonists; Lucy Stovall is looking for her younger sister's murderer and she joins the Englishmen's party.

This is a book that I've meant to read for years, so it was a happy coincidence to come across the BTC audiobook at the same time as I was nearly finished listening to a different book. The abridged BTC edition (5 hours) is enjoyably narrated by five different actors. The only thing I didn't like was that the tracks are all between 15 and 17 minutes in length. That means that I often had to re-listen to what I'd already heard, depending on where I left off the story. I prefer the more common audiobook style of changing tracks every few minutes.

Readalikes: The Outlander by Gil Adamson, for another book set in the early years of southern Alberta with a strong sense of place and vivid characters. Fool's Crow by James Welch, for life in the late nineteenth century from the Blackfoot point of view in the same general area as The Last Crossing.

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