Roderick L(angmere) Haig-Brown

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Janet Arnett

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[Roderick Haig-Brown left] a considerable quantity of unpublished short fiction and essays. Using this material, his daughter Valerie has planned a three-volume compilation, of which Woods and River Tales is the first….

His empathy with the individualistic people who struggled in [the rugged environment of British Columbia] and his well-honed observational skills make these stories memorable.

Woods and River Tales contains 19 stories, many of them thought to be based on true experiences. All but four are published here for the first time.

The subjects Haig-Brown picked for his tales are typically wild and woolly west themes…. But far from being hackneyed, the stories are fresh and inviting saved by a skilled writer's touch with words and his ability to translate the world of nature into vivid descriptions on the printed page. Haig-Brown combines gentleness and humour with the swagger of the frontier, and the result is a book of tales that have literary beauty together with unwashed outdoorsman heroics, a most unusual combination.

Janet Arnett, "Fiction: 'Woods and River Tales'," in Quill and Quire (reprinted by permission of Quill and Quire), Vol. 46, No. 6, June, 1980, p. 34.

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Alec Lucas