Cool Water. Dianne Warren.

Warren, Dianne. Cool Water. HarperCollins Toronto 2010. F;10/11.

A lovely but light book, coincidentally read at about the same time we spent a couple of days in Kindersley Saskatchewan. It’s definitely in a traditional Canadian (and American too) bucolic genre: simple small-town folk in the prairie living their strange but very human comings-of-age, learning to be alone, falling in love, raising the family, dropping dead of heart attacks, etc. Although not with quite the tense complexity hidden under the beguiling mid-20th century straightness of Mrs. Bennett in As for Me and My House, the characters are mostly credible and real.

And Diane Warren rescues her pulling-together of a bunch of disparate short stories (they must be teaching that in the elite creative writing departments these days) from banality and self-importance through adorably sour irony.

Nothing to change anybody’s life here, but a beautifully-pitched read which will however blend in my mind into six or seven other pieces of nostalgic fiction and movies I’ve enjoyed over the past few years that scan like The Last Picture Show. 7.4/8.2


About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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