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George Ryga: The Prairie Novels

George Ryga: The Prairie Novels
Your Price: $24.95 CDN
Author: George Ryga
Edited by: James Hoffman
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 320
Pub. Date: 2004
ISBN-10: 088922501X
ISBN-13: 9780889225015

About the Book:

James Hoffman, George Ryga's biographer, provides a brilliant guide to the reader of this collection, with a compelling reappraisal of Ryga's fiction as far ahead of its time. The three short novels included here — Hungry Hills, Ballad of a Stonepicker and Night Desk — draw from the same large canvas of rural, depression-era Alberta. They have similar stark prairie settings and a recognizable array of colourful, cantankerous homesteader and dirt farmer characters, all of whom take us in many pleasurable, disturbing and revealing directions, both historical and mythopoetic. This was a period of obstinate survival farming and boisterous, ethnically diverse community building, redolent with the more questionable aspects of colonial 'settling' and 'breaking' of the land, in a place that was never unsettled or unclaimed to begin with.

Told in a homey vernacular, each of these three tales evokes a time and place that is as ironically as it is emphatically post-colonial. George Ryga offers the reader (and re-reader) characters with a rough-hewn energy for survival and self-determination, and finds in them the beginnings of an authentic prairie culture defined by the anti-colonial struggle that so powerfully marks his work.

What people say:

"All of [Ryga's] plays and novels were propelled by compassion and moral outrage, but also by a peculiar and personal awareness of the life and death of human cultures and the values they contain.." — Globe & Mail

About the Author:

George Ryga (1932-1987) was one of Canada's most important playwrights, with a broad international reputation. Largely self-taught, he showed early promise when he won a writing scholarship to the Banff School of the Arts. He published his first book of poems in his late teens and earned a living first with hard labour and later in radio broadcasting. In 1967, Ryga soared to national fame with The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, which has since evolved into a modern classic. "More than any other writer," said theatre director John Juliani, "George Ryga was responsible for first bringing the contemporary age to the Canadian stage." He will always be remembered and cherished as one of Canada's most prolific and powerful writers.

About the Editor:

James Hoffman is a Professor of Theatre at the University College of the Cariboo, located in Kamloops, BC, and the editor of the scholarly journal Textual Studies in Canada. His research interests include Canadian theatre studies, post-colonial theory, and the history and culture of theatre in BC.