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Anne Cameron, Bright's Crossing

If you want a sense for small-town Vancouver Island in the 1970s or 1980s, the obvious choice is Jack Hodgins, and it's the smart choice.

But make room for Anne Cameron's Bright's Crossing, which is feminist as hell, funnier, and driven by (mostly) more believable characters than are Hodgins' stories.

In brief, this is a collection of eleven stories, each one named after a woman who lives for at least a time in the small Vancouver Island town of Bright's Crossing, which is fictional but seems awfully like either Ladysmith or Nanaimo. Old or young, Cameron's women suffer consistently as a consequence of the attentions and depredations of men, though in some stories it's more a structural issue that's led to a particular crisis or painful circumstance. Generally they speak up for themselves, and act for themselves, and so there's a terrific sense of class and power and gender dynamics beneath the characters and stories we're being given.

Cameron c…

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