Suitably titled “Cool Water” the novel is set in the dusty sand dunes of Juliet, Saskatchewan. There is beauty as well as loneliness in the oasis on the edge of Little Snake Sand Hills. Warren lives in Regina, Saskatchewan and she has captured the mood of the Prairie people. Their day-to-day lives are a far cry from the life in Ottawa.
For one thing, there are lots of horses, including one that escapes his trailer and the adventures getting him back to his owner. The people are unassuming and matter-of-fact but they have hang-ups we all recognize and Warren describes them in a warm-hearted and witty way. There is the man afraid to take responsibility for the farm his adoptive parents left him; the shy middle-aged couple unable to acknowledge their feelings for one another.
Dianne Warren is the author of three books of short fiction and three plays. She has won the Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year, the Marian Engel Award for a woman writer in mid-career, and has been shortlisted for a Governor-General’s Award for Drama in l992.
Review by Anne McDougall