Wolf Willow Book reviews


Author(s): Wallace StegnerDownload  


Wallace Stegner weaves together fiction and nonfiction, history and impressions, childhood remembrance and adult reflections in this unusual portrait of his boyhood. Set in Cypress Hills in southern Saskatchewan, where Stegner’s family homesteaded from 1914 to 1920, Wolf Willow: A History, a Story & a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier brings to life both the pioneer community and the magnificent landscape that surrounds it. This Twentieth-Century Classics edition includes a new introductory essay by Page Stegner.

Some Reviews: 114 in Goodreads.com

Jane E

Jane E rated it     

Disappointing at first because I expected more of an autobiography and less of a history but eventually it pulled me in. What a life. Endless freezing cold winters and dry, dusty summers and yet it was so obviously a special place to spend some of his childhood. Life was so different then anyway but way out in the vast empty plains was another order of magnitude different. Heartbreaking for those who lost their dreams to drought and blizzards but children don’t take in the anguish and move on easily. Interestingly, Stegner seems to regret having to move on in spite of knowing that a tiny town with little opportunity would never have worked for him even if the land and climate had allowed it. A good book. (Taken from shelf in hotel in London.)


Robyn rated it     

I wish had caught the scent of wolf willow as I was immersed in this work of Wallace Stegner. I have never smelled wolf willow, so ubiquitous in Stegner’s West, on the East Coast. Yet, this book transported me to the plains – raw and indescribably open to the elements.

This book – a blend of a memoir, history, and novella – is a deep-in-the-bones reflection of the history of Europeans in the West. It seems impossibly recent – just a little over 100 years ago. And yet we know that it is overlaying a much longer history. One in which the land and the elements, along with native peoples, shaped the fierce and enduring environment.


Elinor rated it      

Since I grew up in Saskatchewan, I loved this memoir by Wallace Stegner of his early childhood in the town of Eastend. Later he moved to the United States and became a famous environmentalist, as well as winning the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, Angle of Repose. His modest family home in Eastend is now a writing retreat, and I visited it a couple of years ago. In Wolf Willow, he describes the history of the area with passion and drama. I read the book aloud to my husband as we were driving across the prairies, and we were both captivated.


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