Cathy's Reviews > The Forest Lover

The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland
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's review
Mar 04, 09

Read in March, 2009

I started this book several years ago, before I knew anything about Emily Carr, and couldn't finish it. Not knowing that many of the characters and situations were based on fact, I found it all too maudlin. Discouraged artist, downtrodden native cultures, stereotypes galore. It was like looking at a reflection, feeling that you're missing something critical, but not sure you really care. Since then, I've "discovered" Emily Carr and rank her among my favorite artists. Her paintings of northwest coast forests and totem poles are unbelievable -- colors that seep into your soul and abstraction that renders objects more real somehow than a literal reproduction ever could. And you know what? Emily could write too. Anyone considering reading The Forest Lover should hold that thought and hunt down a copy of Klee Wyck, one of her collections of short stories. You'll get your fill of oppressive missionaries and wronged First Nations. You'll also get some astonishingly visual writing. It's true, she writes like she paints. So, The Forest Lover. I can't recommend it to anyone who doesn't know Emily Carr's work. It's not an entre book, it's more of a fictional commentary. I'm not sure of the value of this, when the original is available and so, so extraordinary.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Mary-margaret (new)

Mary-margaret I learned of Emily Carr after a trip to Vancouver and wanted to read this book to try to learn a bit more about her. I, too, couldn't finish this book. What a disappointment.

Mary Thank you for that comment because I agree - I finished Forest Lover and did more research because I felt the book didn't get to the heart of the characters.

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