Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Girl in Saskatoon by Sharon Butala

The Girl in Saskatoon
by Sharon Butala

Presented in  paperback by publisher Harper Perrenial ; A Phyllis Bruce Book in 2008 as “A meditation of friendship, memory and murder.”

These descriptors  alone captivated me instantly. 

Additionally the book was listed  as  a Globe 100 “Best Book of the Year”.  For 262 pages,  it kept my interest all the way to the very end. The author had been personally connected to the victim and searched  for meaning in the violence that took her life, in the mystery of  an inconclusive investigation and a metaphysical probing of “what might have been or could have been”.

The narrative  evolves around  the death of Alex Wiwcharuk on the banks of the Saskatchewan River in 1961 which was presented  on CBC as a “ 5th Estate” documentary and titled “Death of  a Beauty Queen”, aired in January in 2004 and presented on line on October 22, 2008. The facts are there and revisited in Butala’s book. However, Sharon Butala’s story goes beyond legal facts. She presents the soul and character of the victim Alex – the wonderful attributes that made this young woman a great success as a human being, as the daughter of a Ukrainian Canadian immigre family who nurtured her development to enable to her to have the very best in cultural, educational and social opportunities so that she would be their shining emblem of success and a statement on “a life worth living”. They had succeeded in their nurturing. Alex was well loved, talented, become a beauty queen and a professional nurse. Tragically, a demon intervened and devastated everyone’s hopes and expectations for Alex. Only the author, Sharon Butala appears to understand the vastness of the tragic death for the family and the community that valued Alex as their measure of success.

Impressions offered by Christine Turkewych

No comments:

Post a Comment