Canadian Geographic Review - Reading the River
Reviewed by: Melanie Bidiuk
The North Saskatchewan River, which cuts through the heart of the Prairies, spills onto the literary landscape in Myrna Kostash's Reading the River, a collection of narratives about life and the fur-trading empire along the historic Kisiskatchewan.
Kostash, whose book is an expanded version of an essay she wrote for Canadian Geographic (Nov/Dec 2003), embarks on a symbolic passage down the river, 1,300 kilometres from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains, to its mouth at Lake Winnipeg.
Conjuring legendary voices, Kostash captures the bliss and adventure of early pioneers, fur traders such as David Thompson, aboriginals and settlers who depended on the life-giving river. The stories in this traveller's companion will take readers to the midst of great buffalo herds, the gentle meadow grasses of Western Canada's Kootenay Plains and the sun-baked mud flats and frothy glacial waters of the river's edge.