Monday, March 24, 2008

BOOK:Yellowknife by Steve Zipp

Yellowknife by Steve Zipp

Canadian Book Challenge: Northwest Territories , What's in a Name? place book

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre?
fiction; Canadian?

What led you to pick up this book?
This is cool. I am in the Canadian book challenge, and Steve offered to send his book to anyone in the challenge who wanted it. I'm sure I would never have found this book otherwise. Additionally, it is a book for the place entry of the What's in a Name challenge

Summarize the plot, but don't give away the ending!
I'm not exactly sure! The book is more a collection of anecdotes following an eclectic group of people who live in Yellowknife. There is a cruise missile and diamond mining and fishing that seem to be unifying elements, but no linear plot I could explain.

What did you like most about the book?
- I really liked the characters, and the obtuse view of them and their peripheral connections to each other.
- I liked the writing as well, and found it easy to follow even when the traditional plot idea wasn't there. There were unifying elements and connections between characters to discover.
- I also liked the setting, and this book was mostly about the north, vast and strange.
- I liked the humorous situations and found myself smirking at numerous lines throughout the book

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? nope, first time.

What did you think of the main character?
I think the main character was Yellowknife, but Danny and Freddy, and Nora and Hugo were my other favorite characters.

Any other particularly interesting characters?
Too many to mention. It felt like a book that could have been written as a collection of short stories, each more defined and traditional. But every character was a character. I think I'd be afraid to head to Yellowknife. Even if this was just an exaggerated sampling, the place and people sound a little different.

Share a quote from the book:
Nothing about the guy made any sense. In fact, now that Danny thought about it, the same could be said for just about everyone else he'd met since entering the Territory.

This from a guy that hitch hiked into the Territory with no plan or supplies and lives in a dump, and subsists on stolen dog food and then decides to be a detective? Ha

Share a favorite scene from the book.
I liked the scene with Danny house sitting, and investigating the Pitbull in the spare room, hoping it wasn't dead.

What about the ending?
I liked the ending with Pfang and the Y2K bit, connecting the beginning of Nunavut and the end of the 20th century.
The final scenes with the dogs and the animals of the north was a little weird. But I suppose the animals were there first, and will hopefully be there in the end.

Any final thoughts?
I really liked the first third, got a little lost in the middle third, and then it picked up again for the ending. There were so many characters it was hard to know what the main story was, or who the main characters were. Once I realized there weren't any, then I just let go and enjoyed whatever part of the story was being told and many of my questions were answered by the end, like how the cruise missile ended up in the north.

Thanks to Steve for sending me the book and showing me a part of Canada I have never seen.

other reviews of this book: guatami, geraniumcat


  1. I've just started - on about pl50-60. I was glad to read your review because I was just waiting for something to start happening. I guess I should just settle in for the look at Yellowknife. I was trying to express my thoughts to Candleman about the book and couldn't find the words. You did. "A collection of anecdotes" and "the obtuse view of the characters and their peripheral connections." That's good!

  2. booklogged - I was glad to see you were reading it at the same time. I liked it, it was just different than a trational plot. Enjoy

  3. I'm one of those heading to Yellowknife. Moving there this summer, actually. Maybe I should read it and take heed!

  4. john - I wonder if there really are all the tunnels under Yellowknife that Zipp writes about? He paints a pretty interesting picture of the city. Did you get a house already?

  5. I'm only 50 pages in, but am really enjoying it.

  6. THis is a god book although not as easy to review. I loved reading it.

    BTW, I have linked your review with my review!

  7. I liked this book too, but I was very heartened to read your review - I couldn't have summarised the plot either! By the way, I linked to your review from mine.


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