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The Great Lakes serve as the setting for a powerful story about the men and women who labour upon them. Sheree-Lee Olson's protagonist, Kate, belying her contemporary suburban origins and current career as an art student, is equal to the challenge of life aboard the lakers. Her adventures on the lakes culminate in an unanticipated and shocking climax.
|Publisher:||Porcupine's Quill, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Sheree-Lee Olson was born in Picton, Ontario, a town on the shores of Lake Ontario. She has three university degrees, in fine arts, philosophy and journalism, financed largely by working on Great Lakes freighters. In 1985, she joined The Globe and Mail as an editor, and in 2007-08 she was a Canadian Journalism Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto.
What People are Saying About This
`I'd go anywhere with Kate McLeod, the raunchy and reckless protagonist of Sheree-Lee Olson's Sailor Girl. Finally a Canlit heroine who shows us that girls can drink like fish, work like dogs, swear like sailors and still be good to the bone. Once you have clanked beer mugs with Kate, I guarantee you will take her to bed and not put her down till dawn.'
'A powerful debut that depicts the commotion and raw intensity of youth, and -- without ever romanticizing -- captures the romance of the sweetwater seas, those "Great Lakes like giant footprints climbing to the centre of the continent". Hardly a page passes without a fresh image or metaphor, a striking phrase or insight -- and insight above all, because this is an honest novel. And one to savour.'
Steven Heighton, author of The Shadow Boxer
'I'd go anywhere with Kate McLeod, the raunchy and reckless protagonist of Sheree-Lee Olson's Sailor Girl. Finally a Canlit heroine who shows us that girls can drink like fish, work like dogs, swear like sailors and still be good to the bone. Once you have clanked beer mugs with Kate, I guarantee you will take her to bed and not put her down till dawn.'
Leah McLaren, author of The Continuity Girl
'Olson understands the appeal of tough sex and wide open water. She's got a great ear, too. Here is a book about a girl rebel written in prose that cuts to the quick.'
Katherine Govier, author of Three Views of Crystal Water
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sailor Girl is Sheree-Lee Olson's provocative debut novel about a daring young woman's odyssey aboard Great Lakes freighters in the early 1980s. Kate McLeod navigates the waterbound world of men, nautical tradition, hierarchy and sexuality. Taken on as a cleaner and cook and working most closely with the few other women on board, Kate struggles to define herself in her own terms - true to her maverick nature, her desire, and her sense of the relationships that matter. Throughout, she finds herself drawn to the hard-working women, wild weather, and even wilder men. The writing is rich in insight and poetry, especially at unexpected moments - in the midst of a storm or the depth of the engine room: 'In the morning she went down to the little room tucked into the stern where the crew did their laundry. There was a wringer washer chained to the steel bulkhead and lines to dry clothes in the heat that poured up from the engine room. There was nothing but a bare skin of steel between her and the ship's giant propeller, churning the river water the way the washing machine's agitator twisted and punished her clothes. Leaning over the railing she saw someone moving at the bottom of the great clanging machine that was the engine. She realized then it was Boyd, slipping fluidly between huge gears and pistons, an oilcan in his blackened gloves, shaking his head to fling sweat from his hair. She watched him bend and duck, tending his machines. He was like a dancer. She could not reconcile the grace of his movements with the noise and stink and heat that filled the air. Hell would be like this, she thought hell would be loud. She wondered how he could think in such noise. Maybe that explained his habitual silence. He had learned to function in a place where words were meaningless.' And then there's the book - a work of art in itself. It's beautifully printed with an evocative cover, full-colour maps inside the front and back covers, and featuring several lake photographs by the author. Overall it's a chewy, absorbing read about how a woman finds her way in a world that's not quite ready for someone of such spirit and raw desire. It would make for a terrific discussion at a reading club. Preferably over a shot, or two, of vodka.