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Vancouver

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Vancouver is a startlingly beautiful city of dreams and desires. Its mountains, rivers, ocean, and islands are arresting to the eye and exciting to the soul. The long and varied human history of this magical place is irresistibly grand and eventful.

Vancouver — the city, the land — has al-ways been a place of appetites, of licenses offered and liberties taken. Since the time the humans crossed the Bering Strait and journeyed down the Pacific Coast seeking a fabled land of ...

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Overview

Vancouver is a startlingly beautiful city of dreams and desires. Its mountains, rivers, ocean, and islands are arresting to the eye and exciting to the soul. The long and varied human history of this magical place is irresistibly grand and eventful.

Vancouver — the city, the land — has al-ways been a place of appetites, of licenses offered and liberties taken. Since the time the humans crossed the Bering Strait and journeyed down the Pacific Coast seeking a fabled land of plenty, Vancouver, caught between soaring mountains and a vast ocean, has been a destiny for the spirit.

Beginning in the dying era of the last Ice Age, Vancouver unfolds with the story of Tooke, the last survivor of a Siberian people and ancestor to the first nations of Vancouver. Moving through history in a rich, ever-expanding tapestry, Vancouver reveals a fascinating cast of characters. Long before recorded history, a young girl faces the terrifying prospect of marriage into a faraway tribe. Hundreds of years later, a Georgian cartographer aboard a Spanish exploration fleet nearly meets his end at the hands of her descendants. In the passing of the next centuries, a Scottish trapper becomes the reluctant leader of a fur-trading outpost on Vancouver's shores, and a Chinese peasant boy seeks an elusive fortune. The burgeoning colony of Vancouver lures a turn-of-the-century British adventurer and a German noble. In modern times, a superstar singer and film actress meets her destiny in the form of a young native girl struggling to free herself from the city's impoverished downtown eastside.

The characters of Vancouver are all vastly different, yet they all share something — a powerful attraction to a grand and giving land. Their stories intertwine, touching the extremes of human experience: riches, bravery, betrayal, crime, passion, and forbidden love.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Married coauthors Cruise and Griffiths, who have written several nonfiction books about Canada, tell the history of Vancouver from 16,000 years ago to the present in this ambitious, deeply imagined novel. In 12 parts, 12 protagonists make their ways in the region, from Manto, a boy of the peaceful Yupick tribe who settles in the area with his Tlingit wife in 13,811 B.C., to Ellie Nesbitt, a young woman of Native American descent dreaming of escape in 2003. In between these two stories, the authors loosely link 10 other tales: of Gistula, in A.D. 212, who fights to stay with her family rather than become a whaler's bride; of Soon Chong, a Chinese immigrant in search of gold in 1844; of the changing fortunes of Konrad von Shaumberg in the early 20th century. Though the authors offer much in the way of background information-they cover, for instance, primitive fishing strategies, climate change and mining techniques-they never lose sight of the human story. The contrast between the epic history and the individual stories of the authors' finely drawn characters moves the narrative forward; it leaps over millennia in a sentence and then stops to reveal the thoughts of a marooned Russian explorer. Despite the book's length, the story is surprisingly of a piece, as these singular tales-connected sometimes by related characters and sometimes simply by geography or rumor-weave together to recount the saga of a city and its people. (Aug.) Forecast: Sales should be strongest in the Northwest, where this mammoth novel will have local resonance. The recent announcement that Vancouver will host the 2010 Olympics may also provide a boost. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Three years in the writing, Vancouver is the first novel of a well-known Canadian husband-and-wife nonfiction writing team. Reminiscent of James Michener's novels, it chronicles the history of what is now Vancouver, Canada, spanning centuries and countless generations of the peoples of that area, both native and immigrant. The story begins in approximately 14,000 B.C.E., when an African storyteller is rescued by the precursors of Alaskan Inuits after he barely survives crossing the Bering land bridge. His grandson, raised on the tales of his grandfather's lost peoples, leaves the only family he has ever known to journey south in an attempt to discover his own heritage. Only making it as far as Canada, he settles and sires generations of people, some of whom carry the genetic imprint of that long-dead African ancestor. The authors deftly introduce the influx of immigrants that helped create modern-day British Columbia-the English, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, and Americans, most of whom came to the area in search of gold and stayed to make a home. Vancouver weaves storytelling and history seamlessly. The only real complaint is that, given the multigenerational story line, fascinating characters are introduced and developed so that the reader begins to care about them and then are lost in the mists of time, their full stories left to the imagination. Highly recommended for all public libraries, particularly those in Canada, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest.-Jane Baird, Anchorage Municipal Libs., AK Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
San Francisco Chronicle
“Entertaining ... never fails to be interesting.”
Seattle Times
“Entertaining ... never fails to be interesting.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Amazing [and] fantastic.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060197872
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 753
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.76 (d)

Meet the Author

David Cruise and Alison Griffiths began writing together in 1983 and are the authors of seven bestselling Canadian books, including Fleecing the Lamb, Lords of the Line, Net Worth, On South Mountain, and The Great Adventure. David was born and raised in British Columbia and lived with Alison in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island for fifteen years. Today Cruise and Griffiths live on a small farm in southwestern Ontario — counting the days to their return to the West Coast.

David Cruise and Alison Griffiths began writing together in 1983 and are the authors of seven bestselling Canadian books, including Fleecing the Lamb, Lords of the Line, Net Worth, On South Mountain, and The Great Adventure. David was born and raised in British Columbia and lived with Alison in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island for fifteen years. Today Cruise and Griffiths live on a small farm in southwestern Ontario — counting the days to their return to the West Coast.

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