this is the 71st in my series of forgotten books
Smith and Other Events – Stories of the Chilcotin by Paul St. Pierre © 1984, Beaufort Books, Inc., 1984 hardcover, short story collection
Back in ’84 when I was a regular visitor to Star Books, a small chain of semi-discount bookstores in competition with Crown Books, I came across this book. I guess you could call it “general fiction”, though the stories within it take place in the Chilcotin country of western British Columbia, and many are about ranchers and horsemen and Indians that would fit into a western. I guess it’s western fiction without being “a western”; no shoot-em-ups, no gun fights, no stage coach robberies, not of that.
These are stories about people, and many of them include a character named Smith, hence the title of the book. Smith and his wife and his child own a piece of land and raise some horses, which they can most of the time find if needed, and some cattle, and the land is mostly hay meadow though some of it is a bit swampy. This is Namko country, and Namko is the nearest town, and Williams Lake is the nearest big town, these things all being relative, and there in Namko there is a general Store run by Larsen, and he shows up in a lot of the stories too.
What these are, in fact are short stories about people in a particular place and time, and St. Pierre writes about them with such feeling and humor (dry, lightly applied) and insight it’s hard not to like everything between these covers.
I pulled this off the shelf several months ago and have been snacking on one story after another, now and then, for a while, always enjoying the characters and the stories and the way they are told and admiring St, Pierre and wondering why I’d never heard of him before. If you haven’t heard of him, this would be a good time to make his acquaintance, and this book would be a good place to do it.
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links to all of this weeks Forgotten Book posts can be found
on Patti Abbott’s blog, Pattinase