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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

The Curve of Time

New, Expanded Edition

by (author) M. Wylie Blanchet

introduction by Edith Iglauer

preface by Michael Blanchet

foreword by Howard White

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Sep 2024
Personal Memoirs, Post-Confederation (1867-), Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2024
    List Price

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A beloved and bestselling Pacific Northwest classic, now available in paperback from Harbour Publishing!

Widowed at the age of thirty-five, Muriel Wylie Blanchet packed up her five children in the summers that followed and set sail aboard the twenty-five-foot Caprice. For fifteen summers, in the 1920s and 1930s, the family explored the coves and islands of the BC coast, encountering settlers and hermits, hungry bears and dangerous tides, and falling under the spell of the region’s natural beauty.

Driven by curiosity, the family followed the quiet coastline, and Blanchet—known as Capi, after her boat—recorded their wonder as they threaded their way between the snowfields, slept under the bright stars and wandered through Indigenous winter villages left empty in the summer months.

The Curve of Time weaves the story of these years into a memoir that has inspired generations to seek out their own adventures on the wild West Coast. First published in 1961, less than a year before the author died, Blanchet’s captivating work has become a classic of travel writing, and one of the bestselling BC books of all time.

Now available from Harbour Publishing, this new edition contains maps of the Pacific Northwest coast showing the journeys of the Caprice as well as an essay on the life and biography of Blanchet by celebrated writer Edith Iglauer.

About the authors

M. Wylie Blanchet was born Muriel Wylie Liffiton on May 2, 1891, in Montreal, Quebec. She married Geoffrey Orme Blanchet in 1909, but was widowed in 1926, leaving her to raise five children on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. For several summers Muriel, her children, and the family dog set off in a twenty-five foot motorboat, the Caprice, to explore the waters between Vancouver Island and the rugged Canadian mainland. They were on their own, with Muriel as captain, anchoring in secluded coves to tramp the wilderness, examining architecture and burial grounds in deserted native villages, and meeting the region's various human and animal inhabitants. Muriel wrote about their journeys, and was successful in having articles published in magazines such as Blackwood's and Atlantic Monthly. In 1962, the year Muriel died, Blackwood & Sons of Edinburgh, Scotland published The Curve in Time, which described several summers of the family explorations. In 1968, Gray Publishing in Canada printed a second edition of The Curve in Time, and since then it has earned a reputation as a Canadian classic. In 1982 Harbour Publishing printed A Whale Named Henry, a children's story Muriel wrote for her family in the 1930s. Harbour has also published Edith Iglauer's informative profile of Blanchet in The Strangers Next Door.

M. Wylie Blanchet's profile page

Edith Iglauer was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She married Philip Hamburger and raised two sons in New York. A frequent contributor to the New Yorker, she has written a great deal about Canada. Her first book, The New People (1966, reprinted and updated as Inuit Journey in 1979 and 2000) chronicled the growth of native cooperatives in the eastern Arctic. She profiled Pierre Trudeau in 1969 and internationally known architect Arthur Erickson in 1979. Denison's Ice Road is about the building of a 325-mile winter road above the Arctic Circle. Divorced in 1966, she came to Vancouver in 1973. She married John Heywood Daly, a commercial salmon troller and moved to Garden Bay on the BC coast. Daly died in 1978. After writing Seven Stones: A Portrait of Arthur Erickson, Architect (1981) she began recording her memories of her late husband and his salmon troller the MoreKelp. The result was Fishing with John, a runaway bestseller and nominee for the 1989 Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction. Her second memoir, about her career in journalism, was The Strangers Next Door.

Edith Iglauer's profile page

Michael Blanchet's profile page

Howard White was born in 1945 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He was raised in a series of camps and settlements on the BC coast and never got over it. He is still to be found stuck barnacle-like to the shore at Pender Harbour, BC. He started Raincoast Chronicles and Harbour Publishing in the early 1970s and his own books include A Hard Man to Beat (bio), The Men There Were Then (poems), Spilsbury's Coast (bio), The Accidental Airline (bio), Patrick and the Backhoe (childrens`), Writing in the Rain (anthology) and The Sunshine Coast (travel). He was awarded the Canadian Historical Association's Career Award for Regional History in 1989. In 2000, he completed a ten-year project, The Encyclopedia of British Columbia. He has been awarded the Order of BC, the Canadian Historical Association's Career Award for Regional History, the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award and a Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of Victoria. In 2007, White was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has twice been runner-up in the Whisky Slough Putty Man Triathlon.

Howard White's profile page

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