Owen Sound Sun Times - Dollybird Review

Reviewed by: Andrew Armitage

It's 1906 on the prairies of Saskatchewan. Moira, who is only 20, is unwisely pregnant and unmarried when she leaves Newfoundland for an uncertain future in a small town called Ibsen.

Main Street, Saskatchewan, is different than life on the rock. "Back home people lived in town, close to town, on embankments, hills, rocks and valleys. But this flat place spread across two streets and then just stopped to make way for the prairie."

Anne Lazurko, who lives in Weyburn, is a graduate of the Humber School of Writing. Dollybird (Coteau Books, $19.95) is her debut novel. And what is a dollybird? At the turn of the 20th century, it was a nickname for either a housekeepr or a prostitute who moved in with one of the many single men attracted to the west. 

Lazurko has created a vivid image of what it was like to live on a new frontier under a huge sky. The major characters, Moira and homesteader Dillan Flaherty, are fully-fledged, fascinating people, existing in a bleak landscape, unsentimental and unforgiving. A delicious western read, Dollybird will certainly stick in your mind for months. 

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