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Blood and Salt

by Barbara Sapergia

Blood and Salt

The time is World War I, and Canadian soldiers are proving their worth in the trenches of Europe. But on the home front, Ukrainian Canadians are being sent to internment camps, "Canada's gulag". Blood and Salt is about this forgotten part of Canadian history.

They had committed the crime of being unemployed in bad times. Or simple of having come from lands ruled by the Austrian empire. They became "enemy aliens".

Taras Kalyna, a young man who deserted the Austrian army to search for his lost love, Halya, becomes one of these men. Imprisoned with hundreds of others in Banff National Park, he helps build a highway from Banff to Lake Louise. Conditions are brutal, the food poor.

His time in the camp isn't completely lost. He forges strong friendships and begins to learn about the wider world. Myro, an idealistic schoolteacher, tells him stories about the life of the great Ukrainian patriot and poet, Taras Shevchenko. Yuri, a farmer, teaches him optimism. And Tymko, a fierce socialist, helps him ask questions about his new country.

Taras has no way of knowing when, or even if, he'll be free again. But even imprisoned, he never stops think of Halya. Their stories develop in separate strands until the war is over. And then he'll be free to look for her.

Blood and Salt is a work of fiction grounded in actual details about the Banff-Castle Mountain internment camp. It explores the search for a new life and the search for love - all the while asking what it is to be Ukrainian.


6" x 9" 448 pages
21.95 CDN; 21.95 USD
E-Book Price
Fiction Paper Adult
Barbara Sapergia
Author Photo

About the Author

Barbara Sapergia writes fiction and drama. Her fiction includes the short-story collection South Hill Girls (Fifth House 1992), the best-selling Coteau novels Foreigners (1984), Secrets in Water (1999) and Dry (2005). She's written seven plays and had a number of them professionally produced, including the acclaimed Persephone Theatre production Matty and Rose. She has contributed to numerous radio and television productions, including the forthcoming television series Prairie Berry Pie, and has had work appear in a wide range of publications. Secrets in Water revisits some of the characters, settings and themes first explored in the stories of South Hill Girls.
Born and raised in Moose Jaw, Barbara Sapergia attended the Universities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and she has taught English literature at both the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia. She has lived in many cities in Canada and England and currently resides in Saskatoon, where she is a full-time writer.



Finalist, Woman Writer Category, 2013 High Plains Book Awards

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