Like a clearcut mountainside, there isn’t too much left in the BC woods for a writer to harvest, but the debut novel by Valemount, BC author Maureen Brownlee salvages a few sound logs from the slash pile to build a tale of loss and liberation, betrayal and forgiveness in Loggers’ Daughters.
Herself a logger’s daughter, Brownlee writes what she knows, and what she knows is British Columbia, specifically the forested slopes of the Rocky Mountain trench and the logging communities that inhabit them.
“This is a novel about people at the periphery,” she said, “about families who spent their working lives surviving the boom and bust cycles of the forest industry.”
Set in 1983 the characters are buoyed and fractured by the tumult of the times: women’s libbers are marching, anarchists are plotting, timber supply is dwindling and loggers are being forced further and further from their homes.
Spanning the province, from the streets of Vancouver and the halls of University BC to a frozen haul road near Fort Nelson, Loggers’ Daughters (published by Fernie’s Oolichan Books) is a novel about change. Changing times, changing circumstances, changing people.
Brownlee will be in Nelson on Wednesday, November 20 signing copies of Loggers’ Daughters at Otter Books from 2 to 4 p.m. and reading at the Booksmyth at 7:30 p.m.