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Grove, Frederick Philip.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1989. 275pp. paper, $6.95, ISBN 0-7710-9961-4. (New Canadian Library series). CIP

Reviewed by William F. Benson

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May

Settlers of the Marsh portrays the growth and expansion of the early prairie settlers and settlements. The story of one man's struggle to find not only himself but also his place in life and the world, it is noted for its realism and the tremendous struggles of its characters.

Grove drew on his own experiences and observations of the early settlements to give a vivid description of all areas of life in the isolated habitations of rural Manitoba. This realism extends not only to the physical setting but also to the people and distinct characters that people his book. The quietly stated realism lends force to the day-to-day trials of his characters as the struggle and isolation take their toll.

Throughout the novel silence plays a major part, whether it is the silence caused by a lull in a blizzard or the ringing that answers one of his character's anguished cries. Grove weaves silence in. around and through each character to emphasize his or her predicament or chosen course. Silence is one of the ways nature tests those people that challenge her. It shapes the characters and the novel as it has shaped the prairie character to this day.

A must for all libraries.

William F. Benson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
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