Ice and Fire
Dispatches From the New World, 1988-1998
Ice and Fire is a collection of nonfiction narratives from award-winning writer Stephen Osborne, who retains an abiding sense that the places and the people he encounters are still to be discovered.
Negotiating the Trans-Canada Highway near Moncton during a whiteout, visiting Timothy Eaton's grave in Toronto, leaving offerings of tobacco at a Nez Perce battleground, drinking with his Japanese mentor in a revolving bar in Vancouver while debating Buddhism vs. class struggle--for Osborne, all of these are occasions to conjure our time and our place.
Ice and fire are extremes of a Canadian North, from which several of these dispatches are written. But Osborne's special insight is that Kamloops, New Glasgow and even Toronto are as unknowable as Pangnirtung. We live in a country that can claim the world's only souvenir police force, and whose analogue is a department store; a country that believes itself to be part of a New World, even though people have lived here for ten thousand years.
Smart, funny, moving, and full of wonder and surprise, the dispatches in Ice and Fire illuminate a very old world striving to make itself new.
Beautiful and sincere.- Georgia Straight