Book Review: The Last Crossing, by Guy Vanderhaeghe
Reviewed by Bruce Rhodes
The Last Crossing is a soulful story of several colorful characters who come together for various reasons to trek across the North American Midwest in the 1800s. Author Guy Vanderhaeghe is very adept at painting vivid scenes and portraying his characters.
Overall I found reading this novel to be a rewarding experience. Having said this, there were passages where I felt the story dragged, and I found the plot hard to follow. On the other hand, there were many engaging, suspenseful sections that I will remember for some time.
Vanderhaeghe applies a very rich vocabulary in this work. While I consider myself to be well read, I encountered at least fifty words I had never encountered before. I consoled myself with the belief that most of those words were used in the 1850s, and have since fallen out of favor. Vanderhaeghe’s writing reflects a wealth of research that he evidently did on the era and places in question.
Anyone interested in getting a feel for the way in which North American Aboriginal and British cultures related to each other will want to read this book. The era described by the novel is the period between native Americans having the continent to themselves, and the British and Europeans dominating the land and its aboriginal inhabitants – a period marked by a mixture of violence, cooperation and assimilation.