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Reviews 107 Out of the Interior: The Lost Country. By Harold Rhensich. (Vancouver: Cacanadadada Press Ltd., 1993. 208 pages, $12.95.) In the promotional material for Out of the Interior: The Lost Country, the publisher proclaims that in this work Harold Rhensich has succeeded in “extending the forms of autobiography.” This work not only lives up to its billing, but may even exceed it. Rhensich’s memoir of growing up on his family’s farm in the Okanagan region of British Columbia is a fascinating portrayal of the immigrant experience in North America, and a perceptive commentary on the misguided ways in which humans have tried to control the land. Rhensich’s memories of his family’s farm are closely tied to those of his father, a German immigrant. Like John Muir, who wrote about life on his father’s Wisconsin farm over a century ago, Rhensich learns that the confron­ tational stance towards the land, astance that his father broughtwith him from the old world, is a self-defeating one: “[o]ver and over again my father was being taught a lesson, but he did not realize it until it was too late and he had lost even the land he loved.” His father’s hands—restlessly grasping—are a symbol of his approach to farming, as was his futile attempt to keep nature at bay by saturating the farmwith lethal pesticides that poison the sprayers aswell as the sprayed. Despite the family’s efforts, the farm was only a marginal proposition economically, and when it failed it took the family with it: “From that moment on, we were never a family again. The farm was all we had.” Piecing together the diffuse and often opaque images that our memories are comprised of is not the tidy, chronological process that is suggested by most autobiographicalwriting. Like dimly recalled dreams, memories are non­ linear, impressionistic, and frequently in need of explanatory footnotes. If the narrative line of Out of the Interior occasionally wavers, the reader is richly compensated with a series of vignettes that are moving, beautifully written, and, like dreams, sometimes startling in their clarity of vision. For Rhensich, the act of remembrance also maintains a vital and healing link to the past: “[memories] spring out of the air before me,justwhere I thought they were all along, where I thought I had lost them, but with one crucial difference: they are alive.” DANIEL G. PAYNE Honeoye, New York KeepIt Simple: A Defense oftheEarth. Byjohn Nichols. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1992. 86 pages, $25.00.) John Nichols explains that several years ago his life had grown so “profes­ sionally complicated, emotionally chaotic, logistically absurd, and spiritually ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
p. 107
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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