Monday, June 12, 2006

Love and Salt Water - Ethel Wilson

The Basics: Love and Salt Water, Ethel Wilson, 1956, 177 pages, paperback

How I found it: I read and liked Wilson's Swamp Angel in an undergraduate Canadian Literature class so when I ran across this book in The Last Word, a local used book store I picked it up.

What's it about?: Somewhat of a coming-of-age novel about a young Vancouver woman and her troubled family in the 40s and 50s. The protagonist, Ellen a.k.a. Gypsy is a refreshingly forward and independent woman for her time.

Did I like it?: Wilson's work always has a unique feel to it, a sort of undertone of melancholy, that for some reason I really enjoy. She writes well and I feel that she is underappreciated compared to other better known Canadian female writers. The book is a short easy read, but is full of emotion. I liked this book and was happy to rediscover Wilson's work.

Will you like it?: If you are a fan of slightly feminist literature or woman authors, you'll like it. Ethel Wilson's work is definitely an essential part of the Canadian feminist canon and should not be missed. Also, if you love Vancouver and the Gulf Islands, and miss it like I do, Wilson's descriptions of the area, including her love for arbutus trees, will transport you there.

But don't take my word for it: Editorial reviews from Amazon are all I can find.

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