What the Crow Said

What the Crow Said - Robert Kroetsch The municipality of Bigknife, on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, is nothing if not curious. In some ways the novel strikes me as a combination of Mordecai Richler, Thomas King, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I draw the latter into the mix because there are so many days of rain in Macondo and, in What the Crow Said, there is a 151-day-long card game, but if I were better read in magical realism, I might be able to draw a more pertinent parallel.

“They had not slept for three days and nights, the assembled players. It was almost dark in the basement, even during the afternoon; at night the holy candles, brought down from upstairs, hardly lit the cards.”

At three-days-long, readers are thinking that the card game is stretching the question of credibility, but a 151-days-long card game is completely believable. No, that’s not a typo. It is completely believable. Because we’re not talking ordinary life as we know it, but ordinary life in Bigknife.

There is something magical and bizarre and homespun and ordinary about this tale that begins with Vera Lang and a swarm of bees. There is something wonky and queer and comfortable about it. It’s a strange feeling indeed.

More here, if you're curious.