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Mar-28-2010 19:27printcomments

A Slice of Life: A review of Faded Love

Many of the stories in the book are set in Alberta and British Columbia, both in the urban centres and in the hinterlands.

Faded Love by R.N. Friedland
Faded Love by R.N. Friedland, Libros Libertad Publishing, Ltd., Surrey, BC, 2009. ISBN 978-1-926763-00-2

(GOLD RIVER, B.C.) - R.N. Friedland's Faded Love, is a collection of short stories mostly centered in the Canadian West, but ranging afield to both Europe and Asia. It has the air of a Roman a clef, perhaps with a good dose of imagination. It certainly speaks of an author with a wide range of experience and knowledge of humanity.

The first story is a reminiscence on a love affair in France some thirty plus years earlier; the brief, well written two pages set the main theme of bittersweet loss.

The following chapter, titled "The Lost Knife," covers much of a lifetime as it tells of finding a knife, carrying it over the years around the continent from job to job and relationship to relationship, only to lose it, and then have it found again. The tale of the knife serves as a device to explore human experience and examine values and the feelings of loss and redemption.

Many of the stories in the book are set in Alberta and British Columbia, both in the urban centres and in the hinterlands. We explore the lives of government officials, lawyers, oil patch workers, and immigrants in a number of situations, some gritty, and some perhaps a bit outside of the experience of the average reader.

All are entertaining while also giving the reader a glimpse of modern Western Canadian social history. There are some authors in the world who have the ability to tell a story in a manner that draws in the reader and gives them a feeling of connection to the characters and plots in the story.

John Steinbeck was one such writer.

When I read Steinbeck's works I read of characters and situations that I have seen in my own life. There is recognition and a sense that the story is more than just a story, but a portrait of real life. And not a portrait that one would find in a history book, but a portrait enriched with emotions that draws the reader and the subject together. R.N. Friedland's writing has that quality for me.

When, in "The Lost Knife" the protagonist cleans a trout, you can feel yourself cutting the fish and stripping the blood along the spine. Here is someone who knows the intimate details of cleaning a fish. In the story "The Life and Times of Sam Victor" the images of growing up in the '50s and the travels across the country are full of flavour. You can almost smell and taste the bacon when he relates that "In Wyoming, kind women made me bacon and eggs for breakfast, with thick toast fried in bacon fat, and the smell of it was stupefying wonderful in the cold, dry, mornings on the high plains."

R.N. Friedland is a lawyer who has done many things; it comes out in his writing and provides a window into a part of the world that many never see.

Faded Love by R.N. Friedland, Libros Libertad Publishing, Ltd., Surrey, BC, 2009. ISBN 978-1-926763-00-2

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Jerry West grew up on a farm in Fresno County, California, and served with the US Marine Corps from 1965 to 1970 including 19 months in Vietnam with the Third Marine Division, and three years at MCAS Iwakuni where he became an anti-war organizer in 1970. He earned an Honors Degree in History at the University of California, Berkeley, and did two years of graduate study there. While in university, he worked seasonally in fire and law enforcement with the US Forest Service.

After university, he worked for a number of years in the international tour industry in operations and management, before moving to a remote village on the west coast of Vancouver Island where he is currently the editor and publisher of The Record newspaper serving the Nootka Sound region. He is a Past President of the Northern California Land Trust, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

You can email Jerry West, Salem-News.com Writer, at: newsroom@salem-news.com




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