12 September 2018

'Strangely Entangled in the Threads of Love'

The Girl at Bullet Lake
H.A. Cody
Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1933
304 pages

Nine years ago, I suggested that Isabel Ecclestone Mackay's Up the Hill and Over features "the most improbable coincidence in all of Canadian literature." I haven't changed my opinion – not yet, at least – but I will say, without reservation, that H.A. Cody's The Girl at Bullet River has more coincidences than any novel I've ever read. The first comes in the first scene, in which protagonist Robert Rutledge's doctor prescribes rest and relaxation away from the big city:
“Bullet Lake will do you fine. And there is a snug house on the shore, known as ‘Bullet House.’ It is not a very poetical name, I admit, but that will make no difference, Si Acres will charge you something, but it will be worth it. There is excellent fishing there, too.”
      “Where is this wonderful paradise, doctor?”
      “It is not far away, only a few miles back from the river at Glengrow. You surely must know the place.”
     “I know Glengrow, for my sister lives there.”
There follows a steady stream of improbabilities. Their number is so great that they consume much of my review of The Girl at Bullet Lake, likely the first in 85 years, which was posted today at the Canadian Notes & Queries website. You can read it here:
Little More Than Coincidence
C'est gratuit!

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