Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Skookum Chuck

I chanced upon Skookum Chuck by Stuart Edward White (he wrote mainly Cowboy adventure novels, naturalist, travel writings and his wife’s channellings…)  set in Vancouver and published in 1925. Here is the opening paragraph. Ignore the twee opening and note the final lines of that paragraph they feel so contemporary and relevant. They are also a common reaction that I encounter to the city from people who’ve recently arrived from elsewhere to settle.)  Two fascinating things about this book 1) it’s episodic 2) there are some pretty accurate weather descriptions in it, the following is not the best example of them.

On a sunny afternoon in early May a young man strolled along a back street of Vancouver. It might have been supposed that he—or any other human, for that matter—would be savouring the fine weather that marked the break of the long winter rains, or enjoying the sight of glittering snow peaks and the twinkle of waters on two sides of the peninsula on which Vancouver is so fortunate as to be situated. But if so, his appearance strangely belied him. He looked bored. Or perhaps bored is too active a word, implying too positive a mental state. Let us substitute. He looked uninterested, indifferent, vacant.

*

Here are the titles of The Episodes in the book:

I. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SUBLIMINAL QUACK
II. THE ADVENTURE OF THE UNDESIRABLE GRAY BOAT
III. THE ADVENTURE OF THE TRANSMOGRIFIED HARPY
IV. THE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE UNWARRANTED PRECONCEPTIONS
V. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SESQUIPEDALIAN FISH
VI. THE ADVENTURE OF THE CATACLYSMIC CAT
VII. THE ADVENTURE OF THE TRANSCENDENTAL HAND LOGGER
VIII. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SEWING-MACHINE POT-LATCH
IX. THE ADVENTURE OF THE TEMPORARY PIRATES
X. THE ADVENTURE OF THE ABRUPT TERMINATION

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