Wild Rose, Sharon’s most recent novel, published in September 2015, is of the earliest part of the settlement era on the prairies, about Sophie, a young Quebecoise mother who finds she has to make her own way in what was then decisively a man’s world. Wild Rose, an epic story of The West, now long gone, charts Sophie’s journey from underloved child in religion- bound rural Quebec, to headstrong young woman to exhausted homesteader to deserted bride and mother to independent businesswoman finding her way in a hostile, if beautiful, landscape. (Coteau Books)
In 1961, a country singer named Johnny Cash chose a beautiful young woman named Alexandra Wiwcharuk to be his "Girl in Saskatoon" and sang to her in front of a hometown crowd. A few months later, Alex was found brutally murdered on the banks of the Saskatchewan River. Sharon Butala's high school friend Alex had dreamed of becoming a glamorous stewardess; she had been crowned a beauty queen in local pageants; she was a nurse. Her killing brought an entire city to a stop. Why was Alex's murder so haunting? And why did Butala return some forty years later to reconstruct Alex's life and search for answers?
Butala faces the horror of these long-ago events to create a lyrical portrait of a world where life appeared so much simpler, when young country girls like Alex came to the city and dreamed their dreams of love and marriage as life stretched before them.
The Girl in Saskatoon is, at once, an in-depth investigation of an unsolved murder, a nostalgic coming-of-age story, an eloquent meditation on the nature of good and evil, and an affirmation of the true meaning of a life.
HarperCollinsPublishersLtd. - A Phyllis Bruce Book
ISBN: 9780002007207; ISBN-10: 0002007207 HarperCollins Canada
From the author of the much-loved The Perfection of the Morning comes a unique vision of the West.
Sharon Butala challenges stereotypes and myths, not just those held by Canadians from the East, but those held by Westeners themselves. From the pioneer past to party politics, from rural legends to urban realities, Butala blends her own experiences with the great themes of Western life.
z #1 National Bestseller
THE SASKATCHEWAN NON-FICTION AWARD
In this new collection of ten stories, Sharon Butala once again demonstrates why she ranks among our finest short story writers. Her unforgettable style - spare but intense, indelible in its drawing of character - brings these stories to life in quiet but powerful ways.
Real Life resonates with the same authenticity and strength that characterized her last award-winning story collection, Fever. Set in western Canada, familiar Butala territory, these stories of women in moments of crisis - a dying sister, a failing marriage, a love lost, a random act of violence that changes a life forever - are compelling and unsentimental. Yet there are threads of common experience that reach from story to story and create a web of universal experience: the pain of losing love and the sense of personal failure that accompanies it; the ways in which poverty can destroy the human spirit; the reality and demands of death; the joy that children can bring. Butala's women are scarred but resilient. They face what the future brings with both wisdom and hope, recognizing in other women and the men in their lives the challenge of finding and keeping happiness.
Critics have found in the writing of Sharon Butala a steady light that both uncovers and illuminates human experience. Real Life captures well the emotional risks that we must face as part of loving. What is real about these stories is Butala's unwavering faith in the ultimate goodness of the human heart.
Iris, a farmer's wife living comfortably near the small town of Chinook, finds her life suddenly out of control. Jolted out of her complacency by death, grieving for lost love, guilty over an aging mother, she sets out on a quest for self-understanding. If only she can find her niece Lannie, whom she once raised, perhaps she will be able to understand her troubling dreams, the mysterious ache in her heart. But does Lannie want to be found? Or is Iris the one who is really lost?
The Garden of Eden is brilliantly imagined novel of family disintegration and renewal written in the simple but powerful style that so endears her to her readers. Grounded in the prairie landscape that Butala has made very much her own, it is at the same time a universal story interweaving history, myth, dream, and vision. It explores with passion and insight the inextricable relationship between the land on which people live and their secret inner landscapes.
Sharon Butala's clear-eyed rendering of the lives of ordinary people, her profound respect for what the land can teach, and her remarkable ability to capture the inner life, make The Garden of Eden a novel of great richness and compassion.
The Garden of Eden is a sequel to her first novel Country of the Heart published in 1984.
HarperFlamingoCanada - A Phyllis Bruce Book ISBN: 9780006485032 ISBN-10: 0006485030 HarperCollins Canada
In 1976, Sharon Butala left a promising academic career to marry a cattle rancher in southwest Saskatchewan. Overwhelmed by the isolation of her new life, she struggled to find a connection with the land that encircled her. What could she learn from ancient wisdom that would enable her to make the land her own? Would she ever find a place for herself in this new, selfsufficient community? Would she have the courage to translate her personal crisis into words on a page? In The Perfection of the Morning - at once a meditation on the world of nature and a personal exploration of the roots of creativity - Butala embarks on a spiritual journey, seeking to define herself as a woman and as a writer. Through history, dream, vision and the reality of everyday life, she creates a rich portrait of her outer landscape - the southwest corner of Saskatchewan near the Montana border - and her inner one, the world of artistic imagination.
Evocative and moving, remarkable in its honesty and insight, this book is a revelation of self and an affirmation of the healing power of Nature. Infused with the richness and clarity of theme that so characterizes Butala's writing.The Perfection of the Morning continues, ten years later, to echo in the mind and heart.
#1 National Bestseller
Winner of THE SPIRIT OF SASKATCHEWAN AWARD, and THE SASKATCHEWAN NON-FICTION AWARD
Finalist for: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD
HarperCollinsPublishersLtd. - A Phyllis Bruce Book ISBN-10: 0-00-639401-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-00-639401-3; HarperCollins Canada
In a seemingly ordinary field on Sharon Butala's land in southwest Saskatchewan lie the secrets of the past. When she and her husband, Peter, decided to let the field return to its natural state, the wonders of the prairie landscape began to reveal themselves to her. Over a twenty-year period, as she walked this field, she tried to understand what lessons could be learned from its mysterious markings, its wildlife, grasses and plants, its massive rocks and boulders deposited there as the glaciers retreated. The field became a tabula rasa on which she could project her own dreams and imaginings about the landscape that has informed her writing and inspired her life.
Wild Stone Heart is the brilliant companion volume to The Perfection of the morning, a resonant and deeply moving exploration of both past and present. Butala travels back in time as she wanders the field; from the dinosaur period and the Ice Age, to the more recent life of the Amerindians and the arrival of the settlers. Her keen intelligence ranges over prehistory, natural history, Amerindian custom, the farming and ranching ways of life, and the politics of the West today. We discover with her the animals and plants that live in the field, the mysterious stone remnants of the nomadic way of life, the ghosts and visions that come to her in her wanderings. Wild Stone Heart is also filled with touches of Butala's wry humour as she watches Nikon-laden tourists pouring into the tiny town of Eastend in the wake of the discovery of a T-Rex skeleton. It captures brilliantly the collision of past and present and one woman's search for her own place in the world.
HarperFlamingoCanada - A Phyllis Bruce Book
First HarperFlamingo ed.ISBN: 0-00-255397-x First HarperPerennial Canada ed.ISBN: 0-00-639129-x
Paperback ISBN: 9780006391296; ISBN-10: 000639129X; HarperCollins Canada
Without excessive show or ornament,Sharon Butala has created a collection of highly charged, emotional stories that delve into the secret lives of men and women.
As Butala skillfully peels back her characters' defenses, she compels the reader into a world of vulnerability, revealing both strengths and frailties of the human spirit.
This now classic work is infused with an intensity that often catches its readers off-guard, making Fever an honest and powerful experience.
HarperPerennialCanada - A Phyllis Bruce Book
ISBN: 9780006391821; ISBN-10: 0006391826 HarperCollins Canada
In the prairie town of Ordeal, on the eve of the millenium, members of the dwindling farming community brace for a rally planned to coincide with the provincial premier's visit.
Broken by years of drought and government indifference, this is their last-ditch effort to save what's left of their town and way of life.
But strange and fantastical visitations - far more momentous than that of the premier - are already taking place, drifting like wisps of fog in and among the townspeople.
As the community wages its mortal struggle for survival, history slips its moorings, emerging to signal the imminence and inevitability of change, and an end to life as we know it.
The Fourth Archangel is Sharon Butala's deeply moving and mournful elegy to a land and a way of living that have all but disappeared. Yet she brings both to vibrant, memorable life giving strong and enduring voice to our eternal, passionate struggle to live with the land, to be true to it and to love it.
The Fourth Archangel is the third of a loosely-connected trilogy about rural life. The first is The Gates of the Sun, and the second is Luna. This one is located mostly in the town and is set in what was then the future - the year 2000.
Trade Paperback ISBN 0-00-647404-7
Selena knows the meaning of sacrifice. After twenty years on her husband Kent's Saskatchewan ranch, the rhytms of children, family and tradition are bred in her bones.
The women around Selena all contend with the conventions that surround them: her aunt Rhea endures change with an almost mystic wisdom, her married sister Diane harbours a lingering wish for a different life in the city, and Phoebe, Selena's daughter, faces a choice that might force them all to reconsider the beliefs they have always known.
Infused with Sharon Butala's singular ability to communicate the textures of rural life, Luna is a remarkable and compassionate novel that moves beyond the life of a prairie woman to capture what it means to be female in the modern world.
Luna is the second of a loosely-connected trilogy of novels about rural life. This one is the women's story and takes place in what was then the present.
Luna is constructed as a modern version of the Greek women's mysteries.
Nominated for a Books in Canada First Novel Award, this resonant novel of love and loss explores the texture of rural family life:
Iris, seemingly happily married to Barney, a rancher-turned-farmer, has surprisingly fallen in love with Jake, an old man who still radiates the power of the legendary cowboy he once was; Lannie, Iris's troubled niece, judges Iris for her weakness nearly as harshly as she judges herself.
Set in a beautifully realized prairie landscape, and presenting the heroines of Butala's acclaimed novel The Garden of Eden for the first time, this novel rings with passion and authenticity.
HarperPerennial - A Phyllis Bruce Book
ISBN-10: 0-00-648158-z HarperCollins Canada
One night, in the first year of their marriage, Doug suddenly turned to Chloe and said, "I don't know what would have happened to me without you. You brought my life in from chaos."
Four years later, chaos threatens to engulf Chloe herself when she realizes that her husband is in love with another woman.
Rather than join Doug on an academic sojourn in Scotland and try to win back his love, she returns to Saskatchewan, the land of her French- and Anglo-Canadian ancestors.
Ironically, Chloe's avoidance of the present forces a confrontation with the past. Amid the deeply riven conflicts of language and culture, faced with ancient hostilities and personal loss, Chloe explores the unfamiliar terrain of her own psyche, and finds an independence she has never known.
HarperPerennial - A Phyllis Bruce Book
ISBN: 0-00648113-2 HarperCollins Canada
Text by: SHARON BUTALA
Photography by: COURTNEY MILNE
The Old Man On His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area (OMB) is a 13,OOO-acre preserve established by the Nature Conservancy in cooperation with a number of partners, among them the land donors, Peter and Sharon Butala. In this beautiful pictorial tribute to the OMB, Sharon Butala and Courtney Milne combine their talents to explore the grasslands that are the essence of their home province.
Sharon Butala's insightful narrative not only describes her personal landscape, a landscape that her many readers delight in, she considers the intersection of the past and the present on the OMB. She takes us back to prehistory, when glaciers scraped the soil from the land, and describes the various ways of life that have tried to take root: from Aboriginal hunters and gatherers to ranchers, settlers, and today's farmers. With her far-ranging vision and questioning mind, she raises important and challenging questions about the meaning and value of land. Photographer Courtney Milne roamed the hills of the OMB in all seasons. His stunning colour photographs of the OMB capture its delicacy, its subtle shadings and its drama: from misty morning hills to fiery sunsets, from lightning storms to delicate spring flowers. Together, Butala and Milne have created a portrait of the natural world that is both reflective and inspirational.
The OMB is the Nature Conservancy of Canada's flagship grassland project and, thanks to its wise stewardship, this area will be preserved for all Canadians. Old Man On His Back captures the essence of a priceless part of our country. This happy blend of image and text will delight all those who care about our natural heritage.
Coyote's Morning Cry is a collection of brilliantly simple, yet profound meditations that explore our need to understand and be true to ourselves. In her deeply moving The Perfection of the Morning Butala began a process of self-awareness that took readers into her daily life as a rancher's wife and struggling writer in southwest Saskatchewan. Now, in Coyote's Morning Cry, she revisits that familiar landscape and journeys beyond it, searching for meaning not only through the natural world but through the world of dream and vision.
These short meditations offer new meaning to ordinary experience and range over areas that inform all of Butala's work as a writer: the power of Nature to heal and transform, the wisdom of dreams, the deceptions of success, the changing nature of love.
Written with Sharon Butala's characteristic clear eye and scrupulous honesty, Coyote's Morning Cry will inspire, challenge and comfort people of all ages.
SHARON BUTALA first attracted national attention in Oberon's short story collection Comming Attractions.
She followed this with Country of the Heart, a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award for 1984. In QUEEN of the HEADACHES, Butala returns to short fiction with this bold and striking collection. The people in these stories are familiar - the friends, neighbours, relatives of our everyday life. Sharon Butala reminds us that each is remarkable and unique.
Nominated for the 1985 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction
This is the second book in her first collecdtion of short stories. Currently out of print, rights reverted to the author.
Publisher: Coteau Books
Text by: SHARON BUTALA
Photography by: TODD KOROL
Harvest follows one family, Henry and Frieda Peters and their children, who farm near Hanley, Saskatchewan.
The outstanding photographs by Todd Korol record one harvest on the Peters's farm, from the start-up to the final, satisfying days of loading the bins and seeing the fields of stubble.
The popular essay by awardwinning writer Sharon Butala looks at the significance of the harvest throughout history and at the role of the family farm as a vital element of the culture, economics, and history of the Canadian prairies.
Together, the photographs and essay are a beautiful and lasting tribute to the prairie harvest, the powers of nature, and the hardworking people who farm the land.
Fifth House Publishers.