The Complaints Department

by Susan Haley | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 1894031989 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingPooker3wing of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 4/10/2006
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingPooker3wing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Monday, April 10, 2006
A birthday gift.

Journal Entry 2 by wingPooker3wing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Monday, June 29, 2009
I enjoyed reading this story, although it was not one of those stay awake til 1:00 a.m., have to know what happens next kind of reads. It was a lazy read for me. I'd read a few pages, put it down, read something else and come back to it without any real worry about losing my place.

It is essentially a love story, 40 year-old Robert Woodcutter is estranged from his family, largely his own fault; he's been absent from their lives due to his drinking and gambling.

He falls in love with the new social worker in town. Rebecca McCrae. Rebecca is divorced. Her husband has custody of her kids. She's not permitted access to them due to her own sorry background. She's come to Prohibition Creek to get her act together, to prove she's no longer an unfit mother in the hopes of being able to get her children back.

Prohibition Creek is a small Dene community in the Northwest Territories, essentially made up of two families, the McRaes and the Woodcutters. Things aren't going very well for Robert as the story opens, he's just lost the election for band chief to his younger brother Danny. His son, Bobby, who hates him, is going to jail and his wife has kicked him out of the house. He's got nowhere to live, so he joins up with his hard-drinking, village idiot friend, Haga. Now Haga doesn't have a permanent place to live either, so the two decide to move into an abandoned fish plant. A simple enough solution for two men whose needs are few, except that when they decide to take care of one of those few needs by building an outhouse, turns out it's not so simple. Bureaucratic red tape exists in northern communities too. Absurdly, an application for a permit must be completed and approved by a distant government authority.

And so the reader has as the canvas to Robert and Rebecca's love story, the juxtaposition of tradition and progress, how a northern aboriginal community copes (or doesn't) with the modern world. It is clear that no matter what modern "progress" is brought to the community, its residents must continue to rely on each other and tradition for survival.

I found some of the traditional aspects interesting although sometimes a little too obvious. Throughout the novel Robert, a traditional story teller, was frequently called upon to tell a story. To me they were not overly compelling and I was surprised that some of them were drawn from the Bible. But, young and old listened and commented whether or not they had heard the story before. Dreams too figured prominently. Robert, Rebecca and Haga all had dreams that they had to interpret to make sense of their lives.

One of the things that irritated me at first was the frequent use of a stand alone comment, Masi(thank-you),in the characters' conversations. It interrupted the flow of the conversation to me. Sure, they might have said that but why insist on writing it on every occasion. And then I noticed that whenever two people got together, tea was always offered. It was always accepted. It would have been disrespectful to fail to offer it and equally so to refuse it.

All in all it was an enjoyable read with gently told lessons.

I absolutely love the physical aspects of this paperback. It looks and feels like something durable and worth spending your money on. It has its own moss green dust jacket (Robert talks of a green book as being the source of his stories), it has thick linen like pages and is apparently smythe-sewn, although I haven't actually spread the pages to check for stitching.

As nice as it's been to own and hold this book though, I intend to release it into the wild shortly for someone else to enjoy.

This has been my 27th book by a female Canadian author read for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?

Journal Entry 3 by wingPooker3wing at Thunderbird House - 715 Main Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (7/1/2009 UTC) at Thunderbird House - 715 Main Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

at one of the entrances (nearest to Main Street).

There was a work crew out today working on the yards. Perhaps one of them will find this one his break!

I've released this book as part of the Canada Day release challenge in celebration of Canadian literature. I hope the finder enjoys it. Happy Canada Day!

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