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By Jacqueline Baker

Jacqueline Baker's ostensible matters in a difficult Witching, her first brief tale assortment, are the overwhelmed and colourless human forms that inhabit rural Saskatchewan, however the actual imperative characters in those tales are the Sand Hills, the awesome dunes within the province's southwest nook. The dunes are domestic to particular natural world in addition to many dinosaur fossils. not just are they invisible other than at shut quarters, they flow imperceptibly every one year.

All 8 of the tales during this assortment care for the ambivalent dating of settler society to its atmosphere. occasionally there's a touch of nostalgia for an easier rural existence, however it fast dissipates. And continuously the Sand Hills are there, pointing to a wasteland that's not just actual, it's emotional, and both unbearably sizzling or impossibly chilly. the grim environment of loveless marriages and failed adolescent sexuality subtly hyperlink to a situation during which the characters are unwelcome or, at most sensible, beside the point. Nowhere is that this proven extra basically than within the first tale, "Cherry"; it describes, from a child's viewpoint, eccentric Uncle Aloetius, who torments his niece and nephew with journeys to "the hoodoo-like hills" trying to find "vossles." yet their uncle's sinister attract, compounded by means of stories of his attractive runaway spouse, Cherry, evaporates on his loss of life. an unsightly outdated girl donning an excessive amount of make-up turns up, calling herself Auntie Geraldine. "'Cherry,' she acknowledged, 'is how they used to claim Gerri.... All these Germans.'" Even her identify is a mirage. those tales, ruled by way of more often than not younger narrators and lies informed approximately intercourse and relations, recommend Baker as a rural J.D. Salinger--a such a lot promising begin to a literary occupation. --Robyn Gillam

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L’effet est garanti : les images sont aussi belles que spectaculaires mais, pour ceux qui connaissent cette île, elles ne sont guère différentes de celles qui sont restées gravées dans la mémoire de l’adolescent qui y allait camper en 1962 et dont la tente mouillée d’embruns, pourtant protégée derrière un abri, s’était alors envolée ! En outre, si l’on regarde vers le passé et non plus vers l’avenir, on peut affirmer – avec certitude cette fois, grâce à la datation de coraux de l’île de Tahiti – que le rythme de montée des eaux s’est grandement ralenti depuis quelques millénaires au point d’être quasiment stagnant.

Bien entendu, quand l’homme et ses techniques pénètrent un écosystème, ils en modifient l’équilibre et le transforment jusqu’à parfois rendre impossible le retour à l’équilibre préexistant, mais par définition, il y aura toujours un nouvel équilibre, fût-il différent et dégradé. Notons que tout jardin est un écosystème qui doit son équilibre à l’homme. Chaque jardinier sait que cet équilibre est dynamique et mesure à sa peine la vitesse à laquelle se transforme en moins d’une saison une parcelle qui n’a pas été travaillée, arrosée et taillée.

En Europe, chaque parcelle de champ, chaque butte, chaque coteau a été travaillé depuis des siècles. Les paysages dits « naturels » ne sont que le signe de l’usage prioritaire que l’homme d’hier donnait alors à la terre : agriculture, chasse4, pêche, production de bois, élevage – il n’y a plus en Europe de forêts primaires, ni d’espaces inviolés, pas même en haute montagne. Ainsi les terrains prévus pour l’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes ne sont que des témoins de paysages agricoles de la France de l’Ouest d’il y a un demi-siècle.

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