A land of volcanoes, geothermal pools, and barren wilderness, Iceland is full of mists and mystery. For a thousand years, its inhabitants passed down oral histories that included fantastical fables as a way to understand their strange land. For settlers escaping starvation in the wake of volcanic eruptions and economic hardship, Manitoba’s Interlake held further mystery.
35 years after Turnstone Press published its first book of poetry, The Gutting Shed, W. D. Valgardson returns with a collection full of fantastic tales and colourful characters. Bears, wolves, fish, forests, swamps, harsh winters, insect-infested summers, the unpredictable waters of an inland sea, and people claimed by the forces of nature, provide a wealth of material from which Turnstone Press’s first published author draws his inspiration.
Ancient sturgeon who rescues a fair maid from drowning, a fisherman who can “speak” with a bear, and mischievous Christmas sprites who protect a poor girl from a nightmarish marriage: these and more tales combine a canon of Icelandic folklore with the landscape and wildlife of Canada for a truly absorbing reading experience.
Blurring lines between reality and fantasy, W. D. Valgardson continues to be one of Canada’s foremost storytellers.