A Prairie Memoir: a Family Story to Touch the Heart

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Marie Nagloren Minaker has a special gift as a writer and author. She has the ability to make the world slow down, to transport a reader back to an earlier time and place.

It is a remarkable literary gift that she possesses - and the reader is all the richer for it. Nagloren Minaker has just published her family's story; a tale of her mother's immigrant family who in 1912 pulled up stakes in Sweden only to spend their first winter in a dugout alongside a river in Saskatchewan, and as well, she includes her father's journey from Norway to North Dakota and then to Alberta nine years later.

The book is entitled A Prairie Memoir; Never Come Home Without the Cows, and it is an absolute joy to read. Nagloren Minaker has written A Prairie Memoir as a labour of love and tribute to her family, partly out of recognition that it is a story very much worth telling, and partly too, out of the knowledge that she is her family's oldest direct descendant. She feels an obligation to share her family's colourful history with the world.

Her parents, Nels and Ingeborg had three children - Marie, David and Ellen - and their family suffered its share of difficult times too, scratching out a living on the farmland of southern Alberta during the Great Depression. Through it all, the family held together. The author's memories of growing up in a strongly bonded home touch the emotions deeply.

This is a book that Nagloren Minaker felt she had to write. Her father died in 1964, felled by Parkinson's disease. Her mother died in 2002; her brother David, who fought a battle with alcohol over the course of his adult life, died of a brain tumor 10 months earlier. The author and her sister Ellen are the sole remaining direct family members -they are the story-tellers, the keepers of the family history.

What makes A Prairie Memoir work so well is the poignancy of Nagloren Minaker's writing. The author clearly holds her family in her heart, painting a clear portrait of their early struggles and the bonds that held them together. The reader reaps the benefits, being taken back to another time, another era. And, in the process, the author seems to make time stand still.

A Prairie Memoir: Never Come Home Without the Cows
By Marie Nagloren Minaker
ISBN: 978098947908
$19.95.

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