When former musician Denny Givens is paid a surprise visit by his older brother Dave — a stuttering, motorcycle-riding rebel with a burn-scarred face — and instructed to give a letter to their younger sister Dianne, Denny can’t help but be suspicious. As soon as Dave departs for the rundown family cabin at Mahihkan Lake in northern Saskatchewan, Denny tears open the mysterious note which cryptically states that a man called Jimmy Matheson is searching for their sister. But before Denny has the chance to question his brother, a tragic accident ends Dave’s life and plunges alcoholic Denny into a downward spiral and a stint in rehab. Despite her own demanding personal life taking care of an asthmatic husband who is allergic to everything (including the colour black), a disobedient teenage daughter, and an abusive mother with Alzheimer’s, Dianne looks after Dave’s funeral arrangements before picking Denny up at rehab and accompanying him home. Upon arriving at his decrepit apartment, they discover that Denny’s girlfriend has stolen his remaining cash and fled, leaving him with nothing but ten dollars and a Martin guitar. Dianne suggests that Denny move into the cabin, offering to drive him to Mahihkan Lake where they can spread their adopted brother’s ashes and seek closure from their troubled past. Meanwhile Harold Huckaluk is on a similar journey towards redemption after a road accident leads to the suspension of his trucking license and the loss of most of his liquid assets. Divorced and estranged from his whole family aside from one well-meaning grandson, Harold decides to use his new freedom to canoe the Mahihkan River to the lake where he also owns a cabin. Harold’s journey will not be easy though, as worn equipment combined with the rainy northern Saskatchewan weather puts him in harm’s way more than once. The physical beating he takes on his canoe journey combines with the emotional toll of his recent past, and Harold’s sanity begins to slip, leading him to suspect that the two ravens and yellow-eyed wolf he keeps seeing are following him. On parallel journeys of self-discovery and redemption, Denny attempts to rediscover himself as an artist while Harold hopes to reconnect with the nature he loved as a boy. Will Denny be able to repair his relationship with Dianne enough to discover the identity of Jimmy Matheson? Are the ravens an omen of ill rather than good, and can Harold survive or will the wilderness be too much?
ISBN: 9781771870863 Categories: Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Life, Literary
About the Author
R.P. MacIntyre is best known for his award-winning young adult fiction. He has also written for television, radio, and the stage and has edited and compiled over thirty-five anthologies of YA fiction, one of which won the Canadian Librarian Association’s Book of the Year in 1997. Mahihkan Lake is his seventh book and his first adult novel.
Yuletide Blues, Thistledown Press, novel, 1991.
The Blue Camaro, Thistledown Press, short fiction, 1994.
The Crying Jesus, Thistledown Press, short fiction, 1997.
The Sins of St. Dave, Playwrights Union of Canada, play, 1998.
Revved, Thistledown Press, short fiction, 2002.
Feeding at Nine, Thistledown Press, short fiction, 2006.
Apart (w. Wendy MacIntyre), Groundwood Press, novel, 2007
- Winner Saskatchewan Book Awards Children’s Literature for Feeding at Nine: 2007. (Also nominated for Fiction Award.)
- Saskatchewan Centennial Medal of Honour for work in Literary Arts: 2005.
- Winner Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Short Manuscript Award for “The Rink”: 2004.
- Winner Saskatchewan Book Awards Saskatoon Book Award for The Crying Jesus: 1998. (Also nominated for Children’s Literature Award.)
- Winner Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year for Takes: 1997.
- Winner Saskatchewan Book Awards Publishing in Education Award for Takes: 1996.
- Winner Vicky Metcalf Award for Short Fiction for ”The Rink”: 1993.
- Winner Best Educational Documentary at Saskatchewan Film and Video Showcase for A Room Full of Men: 1992.