At The Edge; A Book of Risky Stories collected by Dan Yashinsky. Charlottetown, P.E.I.: Ragweed Press, 1998. ISBNO-921556-74-8 256 pp. $14.95
Dan Yashinsky does more for Canadian storytelling than just about anyone I know. This is his fourth collection of stories told by Canadian tellers. Ghostwise, which preceded this one (see Vol. 3 No.1 March, 1998 ) was winner of the 1998 Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award.
Each of Yashinsky' s collections is centered around some theme, and the theme for this new book, as the title states, is risky stories. Now risk can mean a lot of things, and it includes, as we are told in the introduction, the risk involved in telling a story. What makes this collection so interesting is that it isn't just a bunch of adventure stories, of people doing daring things or risking life and limb for others. There are stories of that sort, of course, but this is a collection with texture and depth. There are trickster tales - tales of those who use a variety of means to escape from sticky situations. There are wisdom tales including a fascinating story by Robert Munsch. There are folktales, family stories, native tales and contemporary stories. There is even a play adapted from a traditional Jack Tale which was collected by a Newfoundland theatre company.
Dan's work in collecting these stories has brought Canadian stones into the reach of people all across North America. Those in the U.S. and people outside storytelling circles in Canada will be interested to read what Canadian tellers are telling. But another gift that comes with this book is that it gives those of us who are tellers in Canada - those relatively few of us spread out over a vast land -a chance to hear the voices of our fellow tellers from. other parts of the country .
So thank you, Dan, not only for collecting these stories, but also for letting us read the words of far¬flung friends and for introducing us to others whom, with any luck, we may one day meet. Despite its title, there is no risk in buying this book. Try it. vou'll like it. For older children (12+) and adults.
The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 4, March 1998