By 1968, Edward Hoagland had successfully published three novels, including the award-winning Cat Man. Looking for material for his next book, he immersed himself in the British Columbia bush for seven weeks, recording his observations and interviews in a series of diaries that became the widely lauded travel book Notes from the Century Before.Early in the Season is an equally riveting account of his return journey. Early in the Season vividly evokes the vast stands of trees, the fast-flowing rivers, the rocky ...
By 1968, Edward Hoagland had successfully published three novels, including the award-winning Cat Man. Looking for material for his next book, he immersed himself in the British Columbia bush for seven weeks, recording his observations and interviews in a series of diaries that became the widely lauded travel book Notes from the Century Before.Early in the Season is an equally riveting account of his return journey. Early in the Season vividly evokes the vast stands of trees, the fast-flowing rivers, the rocky ridgelines of the province’s unspoiled central interior. Against this dramatic backdrop Hoagland profiles an extraordinary cast of characters from the region’s present and past: fearless, larger-than-life trader Skookum Davidson; self-proclaimed “Chinese-Indian medicine man” Luke Fowler; indomitable “Omineca River Queen” Agate Alexander; and many others. Poignant, probing, and historically rich, this book offers a window on the people and places that shaped British Columbia and a transporting read for anyone curious about life in one of the world's most majestic wildernesses.
Edward Hoagland is one of the best contemporary American essayists, known especially for his nature and travel writing. His essays and short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic, Harper's, New American Review, The Village Voice and the New York Times Book Review. The author of 20 books and the general editor for the Penguin Nature Library, he has been nominated for the National Book Award (1974) for Walking the Dead Diamond River, the National Book Critics Circle Award (1979) for African Calliope and the American Book Award (1982) for The Tugman's Passage. He was elected to the American Academy of Institute of Arts and Letters in 1982. Although he first worked in the "Animal Department" at Ringling Bros. Circus, he's spent most of his career teaching at ten universities, including Columbia, University of California-Davis, Sarah Laurence and Bennington. He now splits his time between Martha's Vineyard and Barton, Vermont.
Stephen Hume is an award-winning journalist who works for the Vancouver Sun as columnist and senior writer since 1989. His career spans more than 40 years, 15 of which he has spent teaching writing at both the University of Victoria and Malaspina College. He is the author of books of poetry, essays and natural history. His first collection of essays, Ghost Camps, won the Alberta Writer's Guild Literary Award for best work of non-fiction. Since then he has written extensively about the people and places of British Columbia, winning a BC Book Award (2000) for Bush Telegraph: Discovering the Pacific Province and the Roderick Haig-Brown BC Book Prize (2005) for A Stain Upon the Sea: West Coast Salmon Farming.
Left New York on a smoggy but hot, cloudless day, from Kennedy Airport—this the day after Robert Kennedy’s assassination. Everyone stupid with sorrow, poring over the papers or glued to the interminable radio commentary, and silent, no one telling others the latest “news,” which is no pleasure to repeat in even the smallest of its particulars. The parting from my wife was doubly disconnected because of the discomforts of her pregnancy (beginning fifth month), though doctor yesterday said it was all right for me to leave. We’re so very recently married that I haven’t got used to using her name—say “my wife” instead of “Marion,” though our beginning otherwise seems auspicious. The baby is wanted, now that our hasty, belated wedding is past, and we have love. We live in a quiet bit of Manhattan, at the eye of a hundred-mile hurricane of suburbs, etc., so that one begins by getting out of and above all this flux. I like living right at the hot centre, of course, but I’m also very tired of it. With the baby coming, I expect to be gone only a couple of months; that is our agreement, sealed after she chose to conceive. I’m tired physically and emotionally from an enormously productive spring, and I find, too, less of the boyish readiness that activated my travels to British Columbia two years ago. But the encouraging thing, if you read memoirs, journals, and such, is how very much people accomplish in a couple of months. This was true for some of the major explorers of the past like Mackenzie, as well as John Muir, and various eccentric side-figures like James Capen Adams, whose adventures I happened to read yesterday. Two concentrated months are potentially a long time. Whoever I see, whatever I write, I’ll be exhausted by August. As usual, my plans are informal, except that they open up possibilities—as will fatherhood, next November!
Mostly today I’m transporting my body—and a good feeling too, to be getting away from the wretched redundancy, the cruel platitudes of the funereal. After Jack’s death in 1963, I went to a Giants game I’d previously bought a ticket for, then walked one hundred eighty blocks home from the stadium. These Roman assassinations of ours. A frenetic, sick nation, a national bewilderment, and meanwhile the centurions of the status quo proclaim that more of the status quo—a more tightly cinched status quo—is the solution. We novelists are left in the shade by this surreality. Either more surreality, or a spare, clear art such as I lean towards, would seem to be the way to try to work it out.