Williams, Helen E. “Spinning Wheels and Homespun.” Spinning Wheels and Homespun (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1923).
The title piece of this collection of nostalgic sketches of pioneer life is somewhat reminiscent of Susanna Moodie’s Roughing It in the Bush (1852), but far from deserving to be the classic that Moodie’s work is. It is mostly descriptive, with two little anecdotes thrown in—neither of which is actually very worthwhile—but it is nonetheless interesting (at least to me) as part of a much larger, enduring narrative type: the settler narrative. I wonder if anyone has done a catalogue, or even a list, of settler narratives through the years? It would begin with Catherine Parr Traill’s The Backwoods of Canada (1836), and go on until … when? Are there any nostalgic pioneer novels being written for adults today? I know there still are for children (That Boy Red (2011) by Rachna Gillmor, and The Bury Road Girls (2015) by Donna Janson, spring to mind), but it seems possible that the colonial (in today’s political climate, read: imperialist) settler narrative may no longer be a viable narrative option for an adult audience.