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Paperback  •  472 pages  •  ISBN 978-0-9936725-8-3  •  Published 2015/09/08

The Ghost of Nackawick Portage:The Collected Short Stories of George Frederick Clarke, edited by Mary Bernard

George Frederick Clarke was a born storyteller. He was once New Brunswick’s best-known writer. His short stories contain some of his best writing, but they have been unavailable since they were published in magazines between 1908 and 1938.

The Ghost of Nackawick Portage brings Clarke’s stories together for the first time, along with the original illustrations. The evocative illustrations alone make this an unusual book; it has the makings of a Canadian classic.

Clarke had an instinctive command of narrative flow and an ear for vernacular dialogue. His short stories are written in a clear and energetic style.

Many are adventure stories; several are simple human narratives; a few are frankly romances. The best are the result of Clarke’s long and patient observation of his fellow creatures: listening to river drivers, guides, and his Maliseet First Nation friends; tramping and canoeing in the wilderness; sitting utterly still for hours to watch animals at their work of living.

His lumber camp and rivermen’s tales, told in a lively vernacular, are robust and exciting. They open windows into the vanished world of nineteenth-century New Brunswick. Clarke brings the same strength to stories about animals. Entering into their instincts and feelings, he tells their stories with powerful simplicity.

Mary Bernard is George Frederick Clarke’s granddaughter. She was born in Quebec in 1941. For many years she spent summers at her grandparents’ home in Woodstock, NB. She studied at the University of New Brunswick and at Harvard and Cambridge. A writer and photographer, she is the author of two novels, Truth and Consequences and Friends and Lovers.

About the Editor

The Ghost of Nackawick Portage

Mary Bernard

The Collected Short Stories of George Frederick Clarke

Editor

Illustration by H.E.M. Sellen from the story "The Least of These"

Includes original magazine illustrations

George Frederick Clarke (1883-1974) was the author of thirteen books and dozens of short stories. He lived in Woodstock, NB. The editor, Mary Bernard, has subtitled her biography of Clarke: “Master Storyteller of New Brunswick.” This collection shows why. The Ghost of Nackawick Portage is a book that will stay on the reading table, and one to which the imagination will return season after season.

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