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Woodsmen of the West
When Woodsmen of the West first appeared in 1908, most readers could not relate to its rendering of the rough edges of logging-camp life. M. Allerdale Grainger refused to sentimentalize the West – he drew from life. While his dramatic and loosely structured tale is at heart a love story, it also tells of what happens when the novel’s British narrator encounters a small-tim ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by New Canadian Library
(first published January 1st 1964)
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There's not many novels about west coast logging and this one of the best. It gives us a glimpse of turn of the century practises when mechanisation was making its first appearance on the coast. The action ranges from the logger's hotels in the Carroll and Hastings and Water St. area up to Knight Inlet, Port Hardy and legendary Minstrel Island. This was the time of hand loggers, beach-combers and gypo outfits in every inlet, cove and sound. Grainger is the hero of his own novel as he toils for C ...more
Aug 02, 2010 Ibis3 rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like frontier stories
This book reminded me quite a lot of Moby-Dick except instead of whaling, the men are engaged in logging. We don't get the minutiae of the procedure we get from Melville (thank goodness), as the focus is rather on the character of the men who work on the frontiers of civilisation and the culture which they have constructed. It is quite modern in tone--a precursor to the unembellished prose of later decades--and very episodic. It has the feel of a memoir rather than a novel. The protagonist is li ...more
A wonderful and frightening story about the people drawn to destroy the original forests of Canada's west. Much of the book describes life in the work camps that ranged up and down the coasts, systematically chopping down every tree within a few thousand feet of the shore. Brutal work, led by brutal men, who found only emptiness and the bottle when they returned to the city when the job was done. Grainger's tough realism is the stuff of high art, a mirror that continues to reflect our tortured s ...more
A gem of a story. Only 145 pages but I wished it had gone on a lot longer. Very insightful about early history in the Pacific Northwest. For the most part about the early days of logging on the Westcoast, but with a very strong connection to the maritime aspect as well since the primary mode of transport was in some cases by steamship, but more often by rowboat. The early loggers were a very tough breed.