Pilgrimage, Diana Davidson


I am beat. Last night I meant to leave a party at one, and instead got home at four. That’s a once-a-year thing for me. Anyway, I meant to write a little something about this book last night but instead I crashed. Hard.

So here I am, twelve hours later, trying to drum up something about Pilgrimage. Which I loved. Arielle also read it and loved it. It’s a great book. It was what I needed after the atrocity that was The Silent Wife. Diana Davidson is a treasure, and I’m more than a little jealous that she taught Matthew English in first year.

Why do we live in a place that can kill us just for being outside? I know there are reasons, but Diana Davidson does a great job of rendering the cold harsh reality of prairie life in a way that makes me forget those reasons. And also makes me grateful for central heating and my down jacket. I felt invested in all of the characters, some of whom were jerks, but well-written jerks with reasonable motives and layers to their characterization.

Arielle pulled a quote from this book that I was drawn to: “There is no such thing as just a story.” I mean, holy shit. If you could take a second and think about that, I’d appreciate it. This book is built on that premise, that all these emotional pilgrimages (I liked that, Arielle, thank you for it) are more meaningful than just words on a page. Telling the stories of prairie life, of settlers and First Nations alike, is more important than just the words you use. Stories make the world. Telling stories is an act of remembering, and we so often prefer to forget, especially stories like the ones told in Pilgrimage of some of the worst things we did and the harshest things we did, or didn’t, survive. I’m going to carry that phrase around with me, murmur it under my breath, write it on the walls, yell it from the rooftops. I’m so grateful for this book.

There is no such thing as just a story.

Books read: 31


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