The Basics: Treading Water, Anne DeGrace, 2005, 302 pages, paperback. This is the author's first novel.
How I found it: Greg gave me this book for Christmas. He said he picked it because it was written by a Canadian female author so he knew I would like it. Little did he know that was filled with Mennonites!
What's it about?: This novel is about a small town in the mountains of BC, only accessible by water. The book traces the life of the town, and the town becomes a character in of itself, helped along by the various people who live there through the years. The book is told in a series of vignettes, each corresponding with a year. We proceed chronologically through these vignettes, each told by a different character, to watch the town come of age, mature, and subside into old age and decline.
Did I like it?: I loved this book. It was beautifully written and by the end I wanted to visit the town, even though it is fictional. The town took on a life of its own for me. Even though the characters who lived there through the generations had lives of their own, which were interesting, the way the townspeople interacted and shaped the town was much more compelling. The book begins in 1904 and ends in 1967; the lifetime of a person is the lifetime of the town.
Will you like it?: This is a great book, and a good one for book clubs. I even cried at the end! DeGrace is a talented writer and I look forward to seeing more of her work. In the meantime, go out and read this book. I really enjoyed reading it and you probably will too.
But don't take my word for it: The usual literary reviews and reader reviews from Amazon.ca, info about the book from BC Book World, and a link to a CBC radio interview with the author (scroll down) were all I could find.