Under the Apple Boughs

Under the Apple Boughs by Donna McCaw. Elora, ON: Oasis Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-9680-683-2-4 96 pp. $12.95 + $2.95 s/h.

This collection of stories of rural Canada -past and present - is Donna's third book and my favourite of the three. The title is from Dylan Thomas' Fern Hill, which is included in its entirety as the book begins, and excerpted at the head of each chapter. The book is divided into two parts: The Home Place, and The Saskatchewan Suite. The stories which make up the volume are all biographical, more or less, and true... sort of. All right, there's a lot of fiction in them. I’m not sure what really happened and what didn’t, but I don't want to ask Donna because it doesn't matter at all. They're darn good stories. They are entertaining, heartfelt, genuine, personal and yet universal. They are illustrated with black and white photos and if those aren't the real people and places from the stories I don't want to know.

In addition to the stories there are a few recipes, and two cowboy-trucker-farmer poems by Doug Hollingsworth. I have the advantage of having heard all of the stories told by Donna at one time or another, so I can hear her voice as I read. But no matter whose voice you hear, or whose face you see, you will finish the book feeling a part of the people who make up this country .

Some used copies available from

The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 4, March 1998

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