Afghani flight to freedom

Shahnaz Qayumi (left) writes about the aftermath of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and details life under Taliban rule for young readers in her latest novel.FULL STORY


Tofino ‘back-to-the-landers’

November 19th, 2020

In the mid-1990s, dissatisfied with their lives in Victoria, Dorothy Kirk and her partner Ed Guenther leased a cabin without electricity on Vargas Island, northwest of Tofino. In doing so they were part of a long tradition of idealistic, ‘back-to-the-landers’ in British Columbia who have sought to escape the vexations of urban life, hoping to be buoyed by closeness to nature.

Recently published, Close to the Bone (Vargas Publishing $14) is her posthumous account of their first of eight years on Vargas, until her untimely death. Written by hand, in a rocking chair on a rustic veranda, the memoir/diary frankly reveals that her life was not without its drudgery and deep dives into depression. Whereas her partner could thrive on a pedestrian diet, Kirk was less able to stomach spartan repetitions and unrelenting self-sufficiency.

This now-poignant, one-eighth of her story speaks volumes. Along with another little-known wilderness memoir by Christine Peters, it must take its place on the library shelf beside the more high-profile, wilderness works of Gillean Douglas, Deanna Kawatski and Chris Czajkowski (pronounced Tchaikovsky, like the composer). 978-1-7770118-0-2

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