Houseboat Chronicles
Notes From a Life in Shield Country
by Jake MacDonald  
 
Jake MacDonald was about eleven when he hooked a fish so big that he felt for the first time the awesome otherness of Nature, so powerful was the action on the other end of his fishing line. That was the beginning of his lifelong fascination with Shield Country, extending north from Canada’s side of the Great Lakes. Over the years, he came to know it well, from the hardwood-covered Great Lakes region, across the vast central landscape of rivers and forest and ancient rock, to the cold northern taiga. He explored this country as a youth when, BB gun in hand, he set out to shoot gophers near his parents’ cottage.

He explored it when he dropped out of college. For an idyllic summer, he lived on an island in northern Ontario—until a bear took over. He explored it as a fishing guide, odd job man, and finally, as a writer, gathering stories. 

Partly memoir, and partly reportage, Houseboat Chronicles brilliantly evokes both the wilderness and the people who make a living there. The author writes about the vibrant native culture, and the precarious existence of the guides, bush pilots, cops, and camp owners who must struggle to live in beautiful, untamable country. The author lived on a houseboat for many years, and still has one, tethered to a remote island. At night, the sky above his floating cottage is filled by the glow of thousands of stars. In this funny, thoughtful book, MacDonald tells us a little about the lives of the men and women who live under those stars.


Houseboat Chronicles 
Notes From a Life in Shield Country
by Jake MacDonald   
The Lyons Press, 2004
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