Every now and then I read something – a phrase, a turn of thought, and I think, “wow, Writer Dude, you just nailed that”. OK, I realize that my last sentence wasn’t exactly an example of the kind of effective writing I’m talking about, but you get my point. Here’s the second in what is thus far an intermittent feature in Mad Padre.

This week’s pick is more serious, from a novel I’ve just finished by Canadian author Sharon Butala. Didn’t know about her until I discovered this book in the excellent Med Hat library. Butala is a western Canadian writer of some fame, and lives just down the Trans Canada Highway in Eastend, SK. I chose this excerpt, from her novel The Garden of Eden, for its descriptive quality. You might argue with the adjective `precious` but if you`ve ever been mesmerized by the clarity of light in a prairie sunrise, you`ll see how truthful this passage is. MP+

Àt the coulee`s lip every little knob and rock, every dip and badger bush stands out sharply. It`s the light the Great Plains is famous for and she`s grateful for it, too, on this brisk morning of her husband`s funeral. Even the drugged sluggishness is leaving her in the morning light and the cool spring air. In another fifteen minutes that precious light will have spread itself out more evenly and with less extreme attention; the high spots will flatten a little, the low spots will rise to meet them, and the promise of heaven will be gone until, as the sun lowers itself gently down the sky, its rays will once again make every stone and bladè of grace ring with golden light.“

Sharon Butala, The Garden of Eden, HarperCollins Canada, 1998, p. 72.

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