Recently Dianne Warren’s novel, Cool Water, won the 2010 Governor General’s award for fiction. When I picked it up and read the description, it didn’t strike me at first, but since it was an award winner, I thought I’d give it a try. Am I ever glad I did! I loved this book, and it is one of my favourites of 2010.
The book takes place over a 24 hour period and chronicles a day in the life of the community of Juliet Saskatchewan. The people of the town and its surroundings go about their daily lives. What is different about this particular day, is that a stray horse has found its way onto the farm of Lee Torgeson. Lee decides to take the horse for a midnight ride which then extends to a 100 mile trek throughout the next day. This ride is the thread that ties the characters of the novel together. Lee, the rider, was a foundling, left on the doorstep of a childless couple who loved and raised him as their own. Other characters include the kindly banker who despite having a position of power in the community has no power at all; the stressed out couple with six children wrestling with the weight of imminent farm foreclosure, and others.
The characters in this novel are ordinary, yet complex. They are the people we see about us each day - each with a story to tell of love and loss, guilt, desire, loneliness, and strength.