Books·Canadian

The Spawning Grounds

Gail Anderson-Dargatz's novel is centred around a dying river.

Gail Anderson-Dargatz

On one side of the river is a ranch once owned by Eugene Robertson, who came in the gold rush around 1860, and stayed on as a homesteader. On the other side is a Shuswap community that has its own tangled history with the river — and the whites. At the heart of the novel are Hannah and Brandon Robertson, teenagers who have been raised by their grandfather after they lost their mother. As the novel opens, the river is dying, its flow reduced to a trickle, and Hannah is carrying salmon past the choke point to the spawning grounds while her childhood best friend, Alex, leads a Native protest against the development further threatening the river. 

When drowning nearly claims the lives of both Hannah's grandfather and her little brother, their world is thrown into chaos. Hannah, Alex, and most especially Brandon come to doubt their own reality as they are pulled deep into Brandon's numinous visions, which summon the myths of Shuswap culture and tragic family stories of the past. Can Hannah and her brother, and Alex, find a way forward that will neither destroy the river nor themselves? (From Knopf Canada)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

The boy sank into the water before Brandon could explain. He stepped into the water, wading upriver, as he scanned the depths for the boy. A sockeye salmon, startled by his intrusion into the spawning grounds, flicked out of his way, its snout and teeth terrifying, an image from a nightmare. Behind the fish, Brandon saw something coming towards him, something that moved like a swimming snake. The thing was transparent, not quite there, made from water, like a wave.


From The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz ©2016. Published by Knopf Canada.

Author interviews

Gail Anderson-Dargatz on her latest novel, set in the Shuswap Thompson region of British Columbia.
The Shuswap-based author will be in Kamloops at Chapters for a book signing on Sept. 24th

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