Monday, October 14, 2013

Reader's Diary #1075- Barbara Roden: Northwest Passage

(Photo by Cascade Hiker)
With the exception of trying to keep my blog predominately Canadian, I try to keep my content well rounded. I like to read from all different genres and forms, classics and contemporary, well-known and up and comers. This year, since there's been a lot of news about gender bias in the book reviewing world, I've also found myself trying harder to keep a gender balance and I've been finding it surprisingly hard! If I don't consciously make the effort, I tend to slip make into reading more male authors. Am I, as a male, subconsciously more drawn to male writers? Since I tend to read classics, and traditionally more men were being published, is that what has upset the balance in my reading? Looking at my current front page (minus this entry), there are reviews of works by Robert Arthur Alexie, Bram Stoker, Jeff Kinney, Fredric Brown, and Oscar Wilde. All 5: males.

Also in October, I've focused more energy on horror writing and in all honesty, it's easier for me to find horror written by males than females. Are more men writing horror? Are they getting more and better attention? Both? That question is larger than I'm ready to tackle here this week, but I was determined to find a horror story written by a woman for today's Short Story Monday. I should also note that finding Canadians who write horror is not exactly an easy task either. Imagine my surprise then that I managed to find both: a horror story written by a Canadian woman, Barbara Roden.

And that's the last of the author's gender I'll mention in this post, because "Northwest Passage" is a damn fine story and should be looked at based on that.

"Northwest Passage" follows Peggy Malone, a woman in British Columbia who is staying in a cabin in the woods. She is soon visited by a couple of young men who are off to get away from it all. One of these men reminded me very much of Chris McCandless (Into the Wild). As we have come to learn, those that long to disappear for a while, often disappear forever. Roden has chosen to add a supernatural twist to their mystery.

There's a sense of creepy foreboding that permeates this story like a BC mist. It also helps that while I found myself questioning and judging Peggy's actions like a woman who runs upstairs in a slasher flick, she's likeable and certainly not dumb. There aren't any solid answers at the end, but it's satisfying nonetheless. It had a Twilight Zone sort of feel.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That does sound good. I have a few moments, happily, so I am heading over to read that straight away.

It's not a strict comparison, but I tend to find myself gravitating toward music made by men. I think I am just more drawn to the male voice. But like you and books, I have to keep reminding myself to stay open.