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Broken Ground

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  95 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Broken Ground is a riveting exploration of the dark, brooding presence of the First World War in the lives of the inhabitants of a “soldier’s settlement” on Vancouver Island. From out of a stubborn, desolate landscape studded with tree stumps, the settlers of Portuguese Creek have built a new life for themselves. But when an encroaching forest fire threatens this fledgling ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published August 30th 1999 by Emblem Editions (first published 1998)
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Jun 18, 2014 Marita rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
The many multiple voices in the first section I found confusing (and this sort of thing usually doesn't trip me up), but they were too similar. Later on, I realized that I didn't really have to keep them straight, that it would all sort itself out, but hindsight doesn't help in the moment and consequently, it took longer than it should have to really get engaged with the story. That said, it was well worth the read. A smart, moving story.
I just re-read this book and enjoyed as much as the first time. It's a little difficult to get into but well worth the effort. So much to think about as you read it; horrors of war, ways we fail or abandon loved ones, loyalty, what it means to be family... It takes place on Vancouver Island; therefore, many of the scenes are familiar including the burnt out landscape after a devastating forest fire. It should be required reading for any student studying Canada's role in WW 1.

I should add that a
Janet McLarty Fretter
Historical fiction about returning soldiers from WWI carving out a new life in a settlement on Vancouver Island. I found the constant switching of narrative voice confusing - 10 different narrators? Really? Maybe it was timing, my energy level, or my failure to make a real connection with any of the characters, but after a while I found I didn't care who was talking anymore.
Others seem to give very positive reviews, so I guess 'to each his own' applies.
Kathleen McRae
I loved the writing in this book.The story of men {or boys]who survived the carnage that was WW! and on returning to Canada settled on Vancouver Island in a desolate place called Portuguese Cove.It was a soldiers settlement and a hard life for the haunted soldiers and their partners and families.The characters were vividly told and I am sure the story reflected the history of the area and was a snapshot of life at the time.
This novel takes place on Vancouver Island in a fictional town of homesteading World War One veterans. It weaves an interesting story of the townspeople, and especially of memories of the war that some members cannot leave behind. Reminiscent of W.O. Mitchell's "Who Has Seen The Wind," Hodgins' leaves a lasting impression of Canadian societal culture on his readers.
Sharon Zink
Very good book. Exciting in places. I am happy to recommend this book. It is about a settlement of returned World War I soldiers on an island off the Pacific coast of Canada. It is like a pioneer story with some romance, coming of age, a nd a forest fire thrown in.
Excellent prose on the hardships of life of a community on rural Vancouver Island post-WWI. There are different voices in the book, and there is excellent weaving of the stories to the final conclusion.
A great story about the impact of World War I.
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Novelist and short story writer Jack Hodgins lives on Vancouver Island where until recently he taught fiction writing at the University of Victoria. Raised in the small rural community of Merville in the Comox Valley, he graduated with a B.Ed from the University of British Columbia, and taught high school in Nanaimo between 1961 and 1981. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa bet ...more
More about Jack Hodgins...
A Passion for Narrative: A Guide to Writing Fiction - Revised Edition The Invention of the World (The New Canadian Library) The Master Of Happy Endings The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne Spit Delaney's Island: Selected Stories (New Canadian Library)

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