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On Potato Mountain, a Review by Sam Coval

On Potato Mountain

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In myths, it is often the physical that is personified. On Potato Mountain, however, it is the supposed physical-the land- that impersonates its people. It is the land that gives them their identities that in turn gives voice to the myth of the land that holds this truth about the relationship its people have to it.

It is not an unknown thought in the history of the understanding of a people that their myths are their objectivity, their final explanations. Here in the Chilcotin, in our British Columbia, the mythic aura of the land is inspired- made- to- breathe by Bruce Fraser in his novel. The spiritual geography and the characters, native and non native act out this myth from the Chilcotin to Victoria. How should a Scot, son of the most dour and a lawyer to boot, become such a medium for this mythic truth? It is the Fraser in him perhaps?

What I do know is that I am already certain to be on my way to feel that land which speaks with such strength to its people.

Happily in its pages ‘On Potato Mountain’ shows us that its deeply impressed Scottish messenger will undoubtedly write in its tongue again. How welcome that will be.

Sam Coval is PhD. Professor emeritus, Philosophy Department University of British Columbia. Co-author of “A critique of the Liberal idea of a person”, Mellon 2010