Photo of Saskatchewan wolf willow by Windy Angels used under a Creative Commons license.
Wallace Stegner, Wolf Willow: A History, a Story, and a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier (Penguin Classics, 1990).
Renowned as a writer of the American West, Stegner lived for part of his childhood, from 1914 to 1920, in western Saskatchewan. He spent summers on the high prairie near the Montana border and winters in Eastend (called Whitemud in the book), near the Frenchman River. Written in the 1950s, this book is “a bouillabaisse of reminiscence, history, and drama,” as Page Stegner says in the introduction. As the subtitle suggests, the book is part history of the Cypress Hills region, part fiction (including a novella and a short story), and part memoir of Stegner’s time in the town and country. In an epilogue, Stegner writes about what Eastend has become. All of this fits together to make something more than its parts, tied together by the attention to the ties between people and the land that recur in Stegner’s other writing.
Janice Albert wrote a brief bio of Stegner. This page describes Stegner as one of Saskatchewan’s environmental champions. T.H. Watkins put together this annotated bibliography of Stegner’s works. You can read Page Stegner’s introduction and some of the book through Google Book Search, or see a passage describing Eastend’s dump. Andy Grace wrote about the book on the Kenyon Review‘s blog. Tom Montag visited Eastend and wrote this essay. The provincial government provides this profile of the town. Stegner’s boyhood house in Eastend is now a residence for artists, and Katherine Govier writes about it. Loren Webster found much that he liked in the book. Driving through Saskatchewan brought it back to Ben Buan.