Darcie Friesen Hossack is another new author that I’ve discovered through the Ontario Library Association’s Evergreen list. I don’t read short-story collections nearly as often as I should, but I enjoyed greatly this one, which gives us glimpses into the lives of Mennonites living on Canada’s prairies. I was impressed by how much Hossack drew me into each story after only a few paragraphs.
These are not particularly happy stories. A number of the characters suffer from depression or anxiety, and several stories deal with the tension between the older generation attempting to maintain the traditional way of life and the younger members trying to find their place in a modern society. At the same time, the stories celebrate the simple joys in life, like the smell of freshly baked bread. Hossack describes lovingly the everyday foods of the Mennonites, and it came to me as no surprise that Hossack has worked many years as a newspaper food writer.
Even though the stories are set in the prairies, they seem closer to home as we live near a fairly large Mennonite community here in Ontario. Hossack’s stories give us insight into Mennonite customs and traditions but they also show that their conflicts and concerns are not all that different from those of other Canadians.