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4 of 5
2 ratings
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list price: $5.99
edition:eBook
category: Fiction
published: Jan 2020
ISBN:9780228610281

Prairie Grass

by Joan Soggie

reviews: 1
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historical, westerns, contemporary women, prairie, metis
4 of 5
2 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $5.99
edition:eBook
category: Fiction
published: Jan 2020
ISBN:9780228610281
Description

Gabby Mackenzie knows little and cares less about prairie people or their history. She sees her assignment to interview a hundred-year-old settler as nothing more than a bump in her hazy career path. But as she gets to know old Mr. Tollerud and the land that has been his home, she finds herself drawn into the interwoven stories of the settlers, the Metis, and the First Nations who came before them. And her own life changes.

About the Author
Joan Soggie’s lifelong curiosity about her homeland has led her to explore the native prairie, the centuries-long relationship between the land and First Nations, and her own family’s settler history. Her 2014 non-fiction book, Looking for Aikton, garnered praise form academics and general readers. The prairies and all its creatures are her inspiragtion. Her family is her joy. She and her husband Dennis, enjoy travelling and treasure days with their children , grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Joan Soggie lives and writes in rural Saskatchewan.
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Editorial Review

Residential school survivor and life-long educator Dr. Cecil King says of Prairie Grass “a dynamic piece of work … Yes, it is a good read.”

— Dr. Cecil King

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Reader Reviews

Prairie Grass

Prairie Grass

Eric Tollerud is an inspiration for Gabby. To her he tells his story of growing up in a sod house miles from any neighbour, plowing the good earth with oxen to self propelled farm equipment and living into the age of digital controlled devices which Gabby uses to record. Eric Tollerud has lived a long and interesting life. Always akin with the land, Eric has followed, and deviated, from popular farm methods. He expresses his 100 years of experience, “all is linked together in an eternal web of life”.
The author presents a microcosm of Saskatchewan through the life of a centenarian who has spent his whole one hundred years on the land. The land, its grass, its soil, its creatures, its people, are who he is. He reveals his life to a student researcher, Gabby. She in-turn unravels the separation-connection that exists between peoples of the great grass land. The story takes the reader through the joys, adventures and responsibilities of a young settler boy. Soggie deftly transitions throughout the historical novel to compare and contrast Mr. Eric Tollerud’s life at the start of the 20th C into the 21C as well as back to the 18C. Flowing as natural as the prairie breeze, she has Tollerud meet and interact with Metis men of the area as early as his fifth year. The author involves Gabby, to bring more relevance and reverence of the land and its grass, as through interplay of her research and Eric’s stories we come to meet the famous Cree, Broken Arm, or Maskepetoon and become involved in prairie Indigenous reliance upon the utility of the vast and varied supports of the plains prior to the Euro-Canadain settlement.
Historically accurate, Soggie’s story is sensitively written, frequently humorous actions balance the heartbreaking losses of life and the fearful times of blizzards and crop failures. The reader will come away with an awareness that the human realities of the settler are not unlike the realities of Metis or the First Nations peoples whose home land once was.
Each chapter begins with sketches and a brief comment of one of the hundreds of native grass types that once were the foundation of land. Just as these grasses held the land together and nurtured it, the reader is enriched with historical action lived by Eric with his family as a child with brothers and a sister, as a man with his own wife and family. The La Prairies, present the consequences of settlers intimately into focus as the separation-connection to the Metis. Soggie skillfully uses flash backs to unite Eric’s memories, Gabby’s learnings and historical events of Saskatchewan’s Metis and Indigenous peoples. The history as long and as intertwined as the roots of the grass.

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