In the vein of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, this novel takes the reader on a wild ride to a community turned upside-down by the social changes of the 1970s. Seen through the eyes of a young man newly fled from his straight-laced Dutch upbringing, the fishing village of Bamfield on Vancouver Island’s pristine west coast is the unlikely meeting place of an uneasy mix of fishermen, the Nuu-chah-nulth whaling clan, hippies, drug peddlers and the scientists and students of the Bamfield Marine Station. Gaz, a marine biologist, begins to live the laidback life of Lotusland in the 70s, becoming a beachcomber and small-time marijuana grower with his two friends, rich kid Blay and Weeping Salmon People aristocrat, Ben. And not long after, he falls in love with Heidi, a student at the Marine Station. But things go terribly wrong: greedy Blay brings big-city interests into their casual pot business, Ben is murdered, Heidi’s affections begin to wane and the local police are on to them. Of Bamfield, Simon Winchester wrote in the New York Times, “[It is] a town so tight-knit . . . [so] full of hidden intrigues and eccentrics . . . [that] with its extraordinary history, [it] seems the perfect subject for a novel.” Louis recognized this potential and felt compelled to explore Bamfield’s cauldron of characters in Cedar, Salmon and Weed.
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