by George Kaufman
SILVER DONALD CAMERON`S Sniffing The Coast: An Acadian Voyage (Macmillan, 288 pages, $27.95 cloth) is atravel book with a difference -- actually two big differences. Thefirst is the author himself, an entertainingly thoughtful writer whoseaddictive narrative style deftly combines keen observation and personalinsight. The second is the perspective: he gives us a view of Atlantic Canadathat few of us know -- the boater`s angle.
His account of aleisurely family cruise along the coasts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island,and the Magdalen Islands contains no extraordinary drama. Yet it is the measureof Cameron`s storytelling skill that be draws us along as vicarious crewmembers on a journey rich in Maritime lore. Even a confirmed landlubber like meis willing to spring eagerly aboard for each new leg of the trip, becauseeverywhere the author goes in Atlantic Canada, he invariably runs into anotherfascinating friend or acquaintance. And, invariably, talk turns to the UrgentConversation, an ongoing dialogue about the future of the Maritimes.
The book brings home tous that a number of distinct societies are struggling for survival in thisCountry. But we are also exposed to intriguing discussions on the entire rangeof human concerns, from industrialization to racism to the many ecologicalcrises facing us.
As Cameron meets andtalks with all his new and old friends, he keeps stumbling onto the bigquestion in his life: "Why is so much of a lifetime taken up withnecessities, so little reserved for the people we really enjoy?"
Make time to enjoy thisintelligent book and its author. You`ll cherish the time spent in his company.And perhaps, like me, you`ll see a side to the Maritimes that isn`t apparentfrom the roads.