Wiebe, Rudy. Of This Earth. A Mennonite boyhood in the boreal forest. Published by Alfred A. Knopf. Canada. 2006 Jackpine House Ltd.
R.W.-widely published internationally and winner of numerous awards, including two Governor General’s Literary Awards for bestselling novels. An Officer of the Order of Canada.
I read this ‘memoir’ with great personal interest. I am a few years older than Rudy. Where I was born and where my parents (family) attempted to make a living at farming was about 50 Km from where Rudy grew up. Although our family moved away from this area when I was only four, the similar circumstances were more than just coincidence. Apart from those special attractions of Rudy’s story, this is a very well written heart stirring piece of literature.
The 1920s was a decade during which many Mennonite families fled from their homes in Russia to escape the devastating communist strategies of Stalin. Our family arrived in 1926. In Canada many became ‘homesteaders’ in the boreal forests of northern Saskatchewan. Life was hard (harsh) but it provided something money could not buy, religious and personal freedom. Families in community characterized how these immigrants functioned. This was a relatively short space of time since most families relocated in various parts of the country within the next twenty years.
Not only did I find this book very interesting in as much that it speaks to part of my past, the life style of our family during my childhood, I am excited about discovering an author that will be part of my future reading.