Courting Saskatchewan

"I'm a member of the race that invented nuclear power but hasn't a clue about what to do with the expended fuel. A race that gave birth to space travel but has not a clue as to how to clean up its garbage in space, its garbage at home. But this same race of humans is also possessed of the wisdom to love a place--even a forbidding place, as mine has been called."

This is Carpenter's account of life in Saskatchewan, an ecstatic salute to the seasons. It begins in the gloom of November and ends around Thanksgiving the following year.  Carpenter likes to think of this book as an example of "creative documentary". It allows him to remain true to the facts of life around home, but (if the occasion demands) to exaggerate the size of his fish.

Courting Saskatchewan cover



Critical Response

Those who despair over the divisive politics that shake our country will take heart from this very Canadian book. To enter David Carpenter's world is to travel in the company of a man who has learned to love, and to express that love in friendship and small deeds....Carpenter writes about fishing with more passion, poetry and philosophy than anyone I've read since Izaak Walton.

- Erna Paris, Globe & Mail

Such is the subtle, considered nature of this book and of Carpenter's temperate and amiable sensibility that I was halfway through it, reading with pleasure and amusement, when it came flooding over me what a very good book it is.

- Sharon Butala

This book is about a life well-lived. The prose is as clear as the rivers Carp fishes, and just as full of energy and beauty.

- Paul Quarrington

Reading David Carpenter's Courting Saskatchewan is like having a conversation with a great, wise and somewhat eccentric friend you've been aching long months to see again. These are lucid, firm-footed, truly bright, sometimes extremely funny essays that are smart about everything they touch upon: the wan goose moon of late winter, the odorous onset of spring on the prairie, the almost-too-subtle glories of a Saskatoon summer. I'm aware that Canadians are always telling other Canadians, as well as the rest of us, what it's truly like to be Canadian. But Carpenter would seem to have the real goods, here, since underlying all in his writing is the sweet heart's song of life going on, wherein lies the truth.

- Richard Ford

If one were to choose the one place in Western Canada that has a regional culture, Saskatchewan would have to be it. David Carpenter has just made a significant contribution to that culture, guiding us through a rich lore that ranges from cranky block heaters to saskatoon berry pie recipes and from quinzhees to the Broadway Bridge.

- Don Gayton




mp3Reading Excerpt

Courting Saskatchewan, pp 77-79


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