Yukoner finds parallels between cabin life and Wolf Winter book

Ryan Lougheed-Smith lives in a cabin near Dawson City, Yukon, and suggested Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck for Checkup's winter book list. She found the book's tension between a haunting physical environment and the survival work that needs to be done daily by the characters mirrored her own life.
A poster reminds Yukon residents to be wary of wolves in the area. (Meagan Deuling/CBC)

There's nothing like seeing glimpses of your own life in the literature you pick up — but would you expect a story of 18th century Scandinavian survivalists to reflect your life back at you? For Ryan Lougheed-Smith, Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck does just that.

Listen to Cross Country Checkup guest host Susan McReynolds interview Lougheed-Smith about her pick for the Cross Country Checkup annual book list:

Ryan Lougheed Smith lives in a cabin near Dawson City, Y.T. -- she sees similarities between her own life and the one depicted in "Wolf Winter" by Cecilia Eckback. 1:58

Susan McReyolds: What's your recommendation, Ryan?

Ryan Lougheed-Smith: My recommendation is Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck. It's set in the 1700s Swedish Lapland. It's a great book where a mother and two daughters deal with the practical problems of a very harsh winter — like their cabin getting snowed in. They also have to deal with the mountain being haunted and people disappearing. The whole novel has a tension between what's real and what's not.

SM: Why does it appeal to you?

RLS: This particular book was recommended to me by a friend. I live in a small cabin with my daughter, my partner and our three dogs in the bush. There's always a tension between the spooky aspects of what's in your backyard when it's cold and dark, and then the hard practicalities of your everyday life. I enjoyed this supernatural fantasy novel even though it's set in an environment that's really far away and a few hundred years ago — it's familiar to me.

Susan McReynolds' and Ryan Lougheed-Smith's comments have been edited and condensed.


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