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Of This Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the…
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Of This Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest

by Rudy Wiebe

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I was unable to finish reading this book. I gave it a hundred-plus pages, but it just never seemed to go anywhere. Even the constant use of words, phrases and sentences rendered in the "Russian Mennonite Low German" dialect that Wiebe's family spoke at home quickly became tedious and redundant. I can see where OF THIS EARTH might be interesting to folks who grew up in that area during that era and perhaps to those who share the same ethnic background, but for me it was in the end a disappointment and just plain tedious. And I usually like to read about other people's early lives, how ever different they might be from my own. The narrative here just didn't move the reader forward. For a much more interesting and enjoyable book on growing up in the Canadian bush, I would recommend Farley Mowat's BORN NAKED. ( )
  TimBazzett | Jul 19, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0676977537, Paperback)

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.


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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:27 -0400)

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