The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-dargatzThe Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-dargatz

The Spawning Grounds

byGail Anderson-dargatz

Hardcover | September 6, 2016

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The long-awaited new novel by the two-time Giller-shortlisted author is full of the qualities Gail Anderson-Dargatz's fans love: it's an intimate family saga rooted in the Thompson-Shuswap region of British Columbia, and saturated with the history of the place. A bold new story that bridges Native and white cultures across a bend in a river where the salmon run.


On one side of the river is a ranch once owned by Eugene Robertson, who came in the gold rush around 1860, and stayed on as a homesteader. On the other side is a Shuswap community that has its own tangled history with the river--and the whites. At the heart of the novel are Hannah and Brandon Robertson, teenagers who have been raised by their grandfather after they lost their mother. As the novel opens, the river is dying, its flow reduced to a trickle, and Hannah is carrying salmon past the choke point to the spawning grounds while her childhood best friend, Alex, leads a Native protest against the development further threatening the river. When drowning nearly claims the lives of both Hannah's grandfather and her little brother, their world is thrown into chaos. Hannah, Alex, and most especially Brandon come to doubt their own reality as they are pulled deep into Brandon's numinous visions, which summon the myths of Shuswap culture and tragic family stories of the past.
    The novel hovers beautifully in the fluid boundary between past and present, between the ordinary world and the world of the spirit, all disordered by the human and environmental crises that have knit the white and Native worlds together in love, and hate, and tragedy for 150 years. Can Hannah and her brother, and Alex, find a way forward that will neither destroy the river nor themselves?
GAIL ANDERSON-DARGATZ has been published worldwide in English and in manyother languages in more than fifteen territories. The Cure for Death by Lightning and A Recipe for Bees were international bestsellers, and were both finalists for the prestigious Giller Prize. The Cure for Death by Lightning won the UK’s Betty Trask Prize, the BC...
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Title:The Spawning GroundsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.8 × 1 inPublished:September 6, 2016Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345810813

ISBN - 13:9780345810816

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent addition to Canadian literature! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all its imagery. I'm also a big fan of the utilization of aboriginal folklore and history.
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! I read this book in one sitting. The writing is very visual, depicting western Canada in a way that evokes images of a lush, green landscape, with a farm, an aboriginal reserve and a river right in between. The imagery in this book is one of the main reasons why I suddenly found myself reading through this book in one sitting. The writing is captivating and just pulls you in, and refuses to let you go until you've reached the end of the novel. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-10-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very Visual It was a well written and interesting story. The descriptions of the landscapes really brought them to life. Other than finding it a little slow paced I enjoyed reading it.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from sensative portrayal of a divided community The Spawning Grounds is a sensitive look at the relationship between a First Nations Community and their white, farming neighbours. While Stew is set to sell his farm to developers, the Secwepenc (Shuswap) community is protesting the encroaching development. The cultural and spiritual differences of the two groups leads to troubles for both. At risk is the further destruction of the salmon spawning grounds which lie in the river between their settlements. If they could work together to find a way to resolve their differences, create an understanding, then they might save the salmon at the same time. In the middle of this confusion is Brandon, the grandson of the white land owner. After a near drowning the river, he undergoes a major personality change which his father attributes to mental illness. His neighbour Alex, from across the river, views his illness differently, as a possession by the the mystery, a spirit trapped in the river. He knows that if they can find the reason for the spirit remaining in the river instead of travelling the path of the dead, then they can save Brandon and possibly even save the salmon. I was drawn into this story from the opening pages. Learning the history of the area and the creation of the mystery seemed in keeping with other First Nations stories I have read. Both sides viewed the issues as them versus us and both were adamant that they were right. It was interesting to see how Brandon's sister Hannah looked at both sides and attempted to find a way to bridge the two belief systems. While Ms. Anderson-Dargatz is not a First Nations author, she presents both sides in a fair and honest manner. I enjoyed her writing style and look forward to reading some of her earlier works.
Date published: 2016-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enlightening, emotional, spiritual, and engaging. We're all connected. As biological, emotional, and spiritual organisms living on this planet, everything we do creates ripples that reach beyond our perceived borders. The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz does more than highlight the connection between cultures, legends, and nature: it weaves together all the nuances and struggles of being human within the complicated framework of spirituality. Raised by their grandfather on land settled by his English ancestors, Hannah and Brandon haven't had the easiest family life. With an absent father, mental illness, and a troublesome history shadowing their childhoods, they strive to find their places in the world, even if it means forging their own paths. Unfortunately, Brandon's life is threatened after nearly drowning in the river. Physically, his body heals, but mentally, he isn't the same boy who fell into the water. Determined to save both her brother and the river, Hannah delves deeper into the past so she can change the outcome of the future. Anderson-Dargatz delicately entwines First Nations' beliefs with white settler skepticism using her unique brand of story-telling. As the histories of the Shuswap and white settlers unfold through stories told to Hannah, more than "the mystery" of the river is unveiled. We're introduced to the possibilities of a world that can only filter into the consciousness if you're willing to suspend disbelief and simply believe. I entered a Goodreads Giveaway and was fortunate enough to be gifted with a pre-release copy of The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz.
Date published: 2016-08-19

Editorial Reviews

Nominee - 2017 Forest of Reading® Evergreen Award™Shortlisted - 2017 Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction“Beginning with the most stunning opening chapter I’ve read in years, The Spawning Grounds envelops us in its electric currents: the mysteries of a troubled family, a damaged nation, a defiled river, and the great rich spirit of the sockeye salmon—climaxing in a storm of lives struggling to renew themselves and the spirit of a magical place.” —Brian Brett, award-winning author of Trauma Farm and Tuco: The Parrot, the Others and the Scattershot World“You must read The Spawning Grounds, a stunning tour de force about the conflict between cultures, generations, nature and man. Magical yet profoundly down to earth, Gail Anderson-Dargatz tells stories within stories, shifting back and forth through time, to create a kaleidoscopic tapestry, unified by the frightening presence of a spirit seeking to right wrongs. I was so deeply moved by this beautifully written, spellbinding novel I read it twice.” —Sandra Gulland, author of the internationally bestselling Josephine B. Trilogy"Anderson-Dargatz has set the bar dauntingly high for every new work; it’s a measure that The Spawning Grounds more than meets. . . . The Spawning Grounds is a powerful, complex mélange of story forms and approaches, including magic realism, domestic drama, historical fiction, and stories about coming of age and coming to the end of life, leavened with elements of romance and considerable humour and understanding. Anderson-Dargatz writes with a direct, often subversive appeal to narrative, powerful storytelling, and skilfully drawn characters carrying complex social, political, cultural, and spiritual conflicts with an unobtrusive ease.” —The Georgia Straight “[W]orth the wait. In the undercurrent of The Spawning Grounds is a clever recasting of the man versus nature story, as nature versus man. Anderson-Dargatz weaves in environmental concerns and the effects of climate change without letting them overwhelm a story that is ultimately about loss, debilitating grief and the power of redemption. . . . [W]riting as fluid as the river that runs through the story. . . . With insight and intimate knowledge of small-town life, she takes on the sensitive topic of the culture clash that continues to plague native-white relations, rendering both non-native and First Nations characters as excruciatingly real people. A master storyteller, Anderson-Dargatz sets out with a tale of the familiar and seamlessly takes the reader where they never imagined they could go. With her deceptively simple prose and all-too-human characters, she woos the reader into suspending any disbelief in the mythical world and accompanying Hannah and Brandon on their journey into the spiritual.” —Toronto Star“Sharp imagery and spare dialogue are put to good use in Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s ghost tale. . . . [V]ividly drawn.” —The Globe and Mail“The Canadian novelist writes what’s sure to be classic literature.” —Huffington Post“Part love story and part family drama combined with a thrilling dollop of magic realism. . . . Cinematic in its scope, the novel explores some of Anderson-Dargatz’s favourite themes—the environment and the fearsome double-edges of domestic life.” —Edmonton Journal“[A] must read this fall.” —The Manitoulin Expositor “[G]enerally well-tuned novel. . . . The Spawning Grounds is a fine addition to Anderson-Dargatz’s ongoing efforts to mine a vein of rich and complex cultural geography.” —Quill & Quire “Gail Anderson-Dargatz writes lovely novels about unlovely people: unlovely people who grow beautiful under her compassionate, masterful, sly authorial gaze.” —Quill & QuirePRAISE FOR TURTLE VALLEY:“Exquisite. . . . Anderson-Dargatz creates a strong sense of the complexity of ordinary life.” —The Globe and Mail  “Turtle Valley lives up to [Anderson-Dargatz’s] gothic reputation, with ghosts dashing out from behind the farmhouses, mysterious flocks of ladybugs clinging to the ceilings, stoves leaping to life at strange hours and horrible secrets hiding in the family well. . . . It’s a tense, passionate story of family and memory, haunting and history.” —Vancouver Courier“Ghosts weave in and out of the smoke, decades-old passions are re-examined, life-changing options present themselves, life and loss continue, unabated. It’s both haunting and haunted (as it’s both a romance-mystery and a ghost story) and it carries powerful magic all its own.” —The Hamilton Spectator“Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s latest is part mystery, part memory story, part eco-conscious tale, but a rare take on illness in the context of a marriage is what makes Turtle Valley a winner. . . . Along with the passion, there’s suspense, too. The raging fires just keep getting closer. This is a haunting novel with emotionally haunted characters. Gripping.” —NOW (Toronto)   “In Turtle Valley, her fourth novel, Gail Anderson-Dargatz captures place with her trademark exquisite sensory detail. . . . Anderson-Dargatz creates a strong sense of the complexity of ordinary life. Her use of the concrete gives rise to the power of feeling through the stark juxtaposition of thing and idea. . . . the author is skilled at peeling back the layers of love, commitment and confusion that most families experience.” —The Globe and Mail