Welcome to Canada

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2009 - Literary Collections - 245 pages
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David Carpenter's stories often begin in a comic mode, and the voices of the characters, their accents, tones and peculiar vocabularies, are brilliantly caught. But what begins as comedy can frequently veer into fierceness, farce, regret or indignation. On these unpredictable journeys, we meet an amorous Texas millionaire and his native fishing guide, a cow named Turkle, a farm girl who talks to bears, a kokum who speaks with departed spirits, a German scholar with a taste for saskatoon berries, an all-Jewish football team that takes a chance on a goy, an aboriginal folksinger who finds love in a laundry dryer and loses it in a motel, a monster northern pike named Adolph, a shy roaring-twenties photographer who hates dogs and loves peppermints.

Most of Carpenter's characters are city people who find themselves out in the bush with the bear, deer, elk and wolves, and sometimes even Windigo. Carpenter has a strong relationship with the wild country of the northern boreal forest, the Saskatchewan prairies and the Alberta foothills. His prose is protean. It shifts into the minds and the voices of his characters and gathers the reader along to unexpected destinations: grief, joy, or a nicely shaded triumph often involving love, escape or an unexpected kind of revelation.

Since 1975, with the exception of four years split between Toronto and Vancouver Island, Carpenter has lived and written in Saskatoon. He has been nominated and won numerous literary accolades for his work, including fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Until recently he was fiction editor for Grain Magazine.

 

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Contents

Foreword by Warren Cariou
9
Welcome to Canada
15
Turkle
55
The Snow Fence
63
The Ketzer
89
Protection
137
Meeting Cute at the Anger Motel
153
Luce
167
This Shot
231
Acknowledgements
245
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

David Carpenter spent his first twenty-three years in Edmonton, working in the mountains during the summers as a car hop, a driver for Brewster Rocky Mountain Grayline, a fish stocker, a trail guide, and a folksinger. He read French and German at the University of Alberta to indifferent effect. He graduated and taught high school in Edmonton until 1965, then migrated south to do an M.A. in English at the University of Oregon. He returned to Canada in 1967 and once again taught school until the summer of 1969, when he enrolled for his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta.

Between 1985 and 1988 Carpenter published a series of novellas and long stories -- Jokes for the Apocalypse, Jewels and God's Bedfellows. Jokes for the Apocalypse was runner up for the Gerald Lampert Award, and his novella The Ketzer won first prize in the Descant Novella Contest.

In 1997 Carpenter turned to writing full-time. A first full-length novel, Banjo Lessons was published in 1997 and won the City of Edmonton Book Prize. During the early nineties he also finished the last of his personal and literary essays which make up Writing Home, his first collection of nonfiction. The essays explore his engagements with such writers as Richard Ford, Mordecai Richler, the French writer/scientist Georges Bugnet, and the late Raymond Carver. Several of these pieces won prizes for literary journalism and for humour in the Western Magazine Awards. One of these essays was featured in an expanded form on CBC Radio's `Ideas'. He brought out a second book of essays about life around home, a month-by-month salute to the seasons entitled Courting Saskatchewan. It won the Saskatchewan Book Award for nonfiction.

Throughout the years he has always been a passionate outdoorsman and environmentalist. This abiding love of lakes, trails, streams and campsites translates into city life in Saskatoon as well, where he lives with his wife, artist Honor Kever, and their son Will.

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