Of This Earth

Of This Earth

A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest

Book - 2006
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A beautiful, moving memoir of a boy's coming of age, infused with a deep love of the land, from one of Canada's most cherished and acclaimed writers.

In Of This Earth, Rudy Wiebe gives vivid life again to the vanished world of Speedwell, Saskatchewan, an isolated, poplar-forested, mostly Mennonite community - and Rudy's first home. Too young to do heavy work, Rudy witnessed a way of life that was soon to disappear. And we experience with him the hard labour of clearing the stony, silty bushland; the digging out of precious wells one bucket of dirt at a time; sorrow at the death of a beloved sister; the disorienting searches for grazing cattle in the vast wilderness sloughs and the sweet discovery of the power of reading.

Rare personal photographs (reproduced throughout the book) and the fragile memories of those who are left give shape to the story of Mennonite immigrants building a life in Canada, the growth and decline of the small Speedwell community, the sway of religion, and a young boy's growing love of the extreme beauty of the aspen forests - as well as how all these elements came to inform his destiny as a writer.

A hymn to a lost place and a distant time, Of This Earth follows the best of memoirs in the tradition of Sharon Butala's The Perfection of the Morning and W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz . It is an evocation of the Canadian west that only a writer of Rudy Wiebe's powers could summon.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, c2006
ISBN: 9780676977530
Branch Call Number: 971.242 WIE 2006
Characteristics: 391 p. : ill., maps, ports. ; 22 cm


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Mar 24, 2008

I like the comparison made in the Globe review - "Canada's own Grapes of Wrath." It is true that, like that other great work, the insight into a world that the average reader cannot begin to compare to one's own, is bound to add to one's understanding of another life and time. Autobiographical, and including family photos and excerpts from his sister's diary, the novel is touching as well as revealing.

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