Title: 40 Below: Edmonton’s Winter Anthology
Author: Various Authors (Edited by Jason Lee Norman)
Date(s) read: October 10 – 12, 2013
Genre: Short Stories
Source: Publisher (Paperback)
40 Below is Edmonton’s Winter Antholgy. Stories, poems, and essays about or inspired by winter in Edmonton.
Featuring: Jason Lee Norman, Diana Davidson, Jessica Kluthe, Michael Hingston, Jennifer Quist, and much more.
Thank you to Wufniks Press for the copy of this book for review!
Winter in Edmonton is a strange beast. We all know that it’s going to come in at some point and yet some of us are NEVER prepared. For me, I look forward to winter every single year. I’m not sure what it is, but when winter comes, the world slows down and gets a little quieter. We all retreat inside of our homes with our fireplaces and blankets, our coffee or tea, and hold our loved ones close in an attempt to warm up just a bit more.
“Despite living for several years in Canada, I always feel depressed and tired during the winter season. As you gradually accustom yourself to the Canadian weather, you’ll stop getting excited for the snow and winter.”
– from My First Wild Winter by Amir Baharun
(I feel like I also have to promote one of the songs I’VE written about winter. After reading so many beautiful stories in this collection, I think I can make at least one contribution. I wrote Wild Birds in 2008 and it still remains to be one of my favourite songs.)
“Of course, I know that I romanticize Edmonton winters. It is lovely and wonderful and magical when one doesn’t have to experience it directly.”
– from Southern Lament by Gregory Ramshaw
Anyway, when I started this anthology, written entirely by Edmonton authors, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be full of fictional tales? True accounts? Abstract things written about the strange Edmonton climate? What I got was all of the above. The anthology is a beautiful mix of short stories and poems — all of various lengths. My personal favourites remain to be the true accounts of winter in the city, usually told by people who haven’t lived here all their life. Being someone who loves the snow, I know that feeling of the first snowfall and wanting to walk down the crunching streets feeling that winter chill on your cheeks. (In fact, I’ll let you in on one of my favourite things to do in the winter — when the snow is falling and night has draped our city with her blackness, I like to bundle up and go for a walk with Radiohead’s OK Computer playing in my ears. It’s perfect.)
“and for you
winter in Edmonton leave nothing
nothing at all to complain about”
– from O Jackie by B. Joanne Underwood
By the end of the book, I felt completley prepared for this upcoming winter — in fact, I was looking forward to it. There was something about these stories that not only brought out the terrifying moments of winter, but also the beauty of winter. I hope that the stories will make people long for the days of winter rather than run in fear. Winter — and really, the seasons — is one of the best parts of living here. I definitely plan to revisit some of these stories in winters to come.