Book #29 – Virtual Clearcut : Or, The Way Things Are in My Hometown

By Brian Fawcett

Virtual Clearcut

Brian Fawcett co-taught some required course or other that I took in grad school. There was a lot of reading — maybe two books a week — and also weekly writing assignments. Not big stuff, just reflections on various aspects of a particular topic, two or three pages long. I wrote a number of nice polite prettily-constructed essay pieces that must have been insanely boring to read. Then one week I was in a foul mood and had run out of time to do the weekly bit of writing, so in twenty minutes I dashed off a rant full of sarcasm and bile and generally mouthy personal opinion. When I got it back, there was a big “YES! MORE LIKE THIS!” scrawled across it. Very freeing.

Fawcett is just like that, I think. He likes both the rant and the intensely personal — I don’t think he has much time for the politely superficial — and he connects both to big-picture issues. In this book he’s ruminating about logging and the decline of Prince George. He likes people and places but he doesn’t flinch at the plain portrayal of truth and flaws. It can feel a little voyeuristic at times but leads to a more even balance of the good and bad, I think. He sees the complications.