In the summer of 1968, Mary Soderstrom and her husband loaded up their VW Beetle and immigrated to Canada from the United States. The contrast between their new home and their old led to a long-running reflection on what makes the two countries different. How could two places that are similar in so many ways be so disparate in others?
In Frenemy Nations, Soderstrom answers this question by addressing a range of geographical “odd couples”: including the United States and Canada; New Hampshire and Vermont; Alberta and Saskatchewan; Haiti and the Dominican Republic; Scotland and Ireland; Rwanda and Burundi; and more. Through it all, Soderstrom shows how tiny differences—in geographic features, colonial histories, resource competition, education, women’s roles, language, and migration—can have outsized effects on how polities develop.
About the author
Mary Soderstrom is the author of five previous novels: The Violets of Usambara (2008); After Surfing Ocean Beach (2004); The Words on the Wall, (1998), Endangered Species (1995), which was a finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction; and The Descent of Andrew McPherson (1977), a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her collections of short stories include Desire Lines: Stories of Love and Geography (2013), The Truth Is (2000) and Finding the Enemy (1997), which was also a finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of several works of creative non-fiction, including Green City: People, Nature and Urban Places, a Globe and Mail best book of 2007. Originally from Washington State, she grew up in San Diego before eventually moving to Montreal, which she has made home for decades.
"A brisk, lively investigation of twin nations and states."
Other titles by Mary Soderstrom
From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future
Road Through Time
The Story of Humanity on the Move
The Continuing Portuguese Adventure
The Walkable City
From Haussman’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs' Streets and Beyond
Walkable City, The
From Haussmann’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs’ Streets and Beyond
The Violets of Usambara
People, Nature and Urban Life
After Surfing Ocean Beach
A Natural History of Botanical Gardens