A Novel

by John Weier,
ISBN: 1895449391

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First Novels - Ninth Century Fox
by Eva Tihanyi

Steppe (Thistledown, 140 pages, $13.50) by John Weier takes its title from the German word for prairie. The narrator, looking back on his Ukrainian Mennonite ancestry from his own life on the Canadian prairies, is pleased to learn that he's "not nearly the black sheep" he thought he was. He learns that the Mennonites were not without sin, that memory plays tricks ("Nothing you remember is true"), that what he grew up believing as a child is not necessarily true but-paradoxically-is not necessarily false either. He finds "no fact or fiction", sees "only stories".

Weier's novel is experimental in form, essentially poetic. It unfolds as a series of short scenes, snatches of dialogue, glimpses of telling moments, diary entries. The overall fragmentation, although it makes the work seem disjointed at times, does underscore how history is remembered, and passed on.


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