Izzy, or Isabel as her academic advisors would call her, is on a journey – as told in Coast author Theresa Kishkan’s latest book, The Weight of the Heart (Palimpsest Press). Wrapped in grief, Izzy climbs into her aging pickup truck and drives to Lytton and onward to Spences Bridge, past B.C.’s rushing rivers, the Fraser and Thompson.
Her emotional journey is impelled by the death of her brother James in a kayaking accident. She visits the places he loves, feels his presence in the trees and water, and befriends the boys who found his shattered body among the river rocks.
Her intellectual journey takes her to the landscape of her scholarly muses, the B.C. writers Ethel Wilson (Swamp Angel) and Sheila Watson (The Double Hook), and their works of Canadian literature that Izzy, the student, is determined will not sink to obscurity. The language of the writers guides Izzy’s own awareness of the dry hills, her senses heightened by the intense emotion of grief.
Kishkan’s expressive prose shines. It takes in the minutiae of the flora, from its lattice of pine needles viewed against the sky to the yellow feathery flowers of rabbitbrush. The fauna appears in the shape of coyotes, horses, dogs, bighorn sheep and friendly humans. Readers not only understand the geography of this area – we live it.
Kishkan’s novella-length book (her 15th) will not get the congratulatory book launch it deserves during these pandemic times. It can be purchased at Talewind Books in Sechelt (604-885-2527) or from the publisher at www.palimpsestpress.ca/