Critical Context

In the tradition of the Canadian prairie winter, Ross explores the connotation of the individual with hostile nature and social alienation. In his short stories, originally published in journals between 1932 and 1952, he developed the narrative voice of the farm wife which he refined in As for Me and My House, his first novel. Ross’s less well-known novels, The Well (1958) and Whir of Gold (1970), deal with the clash of contemporary urban and rural values, while Sawbones Memorial (1974), his most formally innovative novel, returns to the historical setting of the Saskatchewan prairie during the Depression years.

Although it was ignored by Canadian reviewers and readers alike when it was first published in the United States in 1941, As for Me and My House finally received the recognition it deserved after its publication in a Canadian paperback edition (1957). Since then, it has become a Canadian classic, praised by critics for its complex characterization, its compressed, metaphorical style, and its depth of human insight.