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Beauty tips from Moose Jaw : travels in search of Canada
Will Ferguson
Adult Nonfiction F1017 .F47 2005

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Humorist Ferguson (Why I Hate Canadians) offers an appealing, brisk account of his many travels in his native land, from the "England as it never really existed" veneer of Victoria to the "certain dignified ugliness" of Newfoundland moose. The title story, in which Ferguson has his limbs and his ego massaged at a Saskatchewan health spa, perfectly represents the book's twin charms: Ferguson's comic cynicism, and his descriptions of intriguing events and individuals tied to the places he visits. In this tale, the levity of Ferguson's interaction with a male "reflexologist" bearing peppermint oil is offset with an account of a hard-luck 1930s Finnish immigrant so desperate to return to his native land that he built an iron ship completely by himself, which stands to this day on the Canadian prairie as a sad but powerful symbol. While humor and history are the book's uniting elements, a lack of narrative harmony results from breaks in chronology and distinct shifts in scene. Ferguson acknowledges as much in his introduction, and while the approach makes the book episodic, it jibes with the author's premise that "Canada is not a country but a collection of outposts." (June 16) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Ferguson (Happiness; Hokkaido Highway Blues: Hitchhiking Japan) spent three years exploring the "outposts and enclaves" of Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland, and the result is a travel narrative that is "subjective and site-specific." Indeed, Ferguson succeeds in showing Canada's diversity, from the colonial ambiance of Victoria, British Columbia, to the tundra of Churchill, Manitoba, populated by polar bears. He travels to Moose Jaw to tell the tragic story of Tom Sukanen, a Finnish immigrant who spent much of his life and savings building a ship that was to sail him home. Today, the ship still lies in the midst of the prairie in Saskatchewan where Sukanen left it. He also visits the Republic of Madawaska, which lies on the northwest corner of Madawaska County, New Brunswick, and exists only for tourism purposes; the fjords of Saguenay and the fiercely separatist community of Chicoutimi in Quebec; and the Dawn Settlement, the terminus of the Underground Railroad and a flourishing transplanted African American community in Ontario. Ferguson, who has rightly been compared to Bill Bryson, is a skilled guide to these unique places, successfully capturing their past and the present in a narrative laced with humor and spectacular prose. This illuminating account of our northern neighbor is highly recommended for all libraries.-Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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