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Bring Me One Of Everything Paperback – February 6, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Bring Me One of Everything is a novel which weaves real-life facts and fiction into an eloquent tale of suspense and intrigue. The title of the book is based on what the management of the Smithsonian is said to have demanded when sending ethnographers to native villages to gather artifacts for its collection: "Bring me one of everything." The novel is several layered stories centered around a troubled writer, Alicia Purcell, who has been commissioned to create the libretto for an opera about an anthropologist named Austin Hart. He earned fame in the 1950s for cutting down and bringing back to museums the largest remaining stand of totem poles in the world. They belonged to the Haida tribes who inhabit the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. Hart's subsequent suicide creates the mystery Alicia attempts to solve as she consults present-day tribe members, Hart's friends and family, and his personal journals. Added to the complications of her search are Alicia's imperious though ailing mother, a cast-off lover, a narcissistic composer, and her own demons of disaffection. But an overarching question dogs her and the reader: why she is so obsessed with Austin Hart and this quest? Grey Swan Press, Publisher --Grey Swan Press, Publisher

About the Author

LESLIE HALL PINDER has written short fiction, non-fiction, and two widely acclaimed novels. Under the House (1986) was published in Canada, the U. K., the U. S. and Finland. On Double Tracks (1990) was published in Canada and the U. K. and was short-listed for the Governor-General s award for literature. She litigated in court on behalf of the natives rights to their land for 28 years. She lives in British Columbia, Canada.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Grey Swan Press; 1st edition (February 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983490015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983490012
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,277,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Leslie Hall Pinder is among Canada's most sophisticated and sparkling writers. In this, her latest book, she tells the story of deep exploration that has a starting point - even if some of her characters don't know it - in the cutting down of totem poles on a shoreline in the North Pacific. This is a book about a particular place in Canada, and about different relationship to and within Canada. But the totem poles offer a profound and evocative paradox: those who cut them down believe they are saving them for the immortality of the museum; but for others, for the fate of the world, they can only be alive if left alone. This central paradox, which is followed into the search for the meaning of the death of the man who organised the felling of poles, is just one strand in a wonderful tapestry of a novel. It resonates very far and to great depths. It is a wonderful read. I recommend it to everyone who admires fine writing and wishes to take a journey into the wilds of both Canada and the human mind. Here is a book that takes the risk of being the many stories that make up life - and it does so with elegance, wit and extraordinary intelligence. It is a tour de force, a work of rare depth and brilliance.
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Format: Paperback
In British Columbia, fortyish Alicia Purcell has been hired to write the libretto for an opera based on the late anthropologist and Haida expert scholar Austin Hart. Alicia heads to Vancouver to research the opera's subject who committed suicide and to visit her estranged mom Sophia suffering from cancer.

Alicia learns what drove Hart including his leading the cutting down of the Haida totem poles in the 1950s so they could be placed in museums. As she reads his papers and talks to his family and friends, and the Haida tribe on Queen Charlotte Islands, Alicia looks introspective and decides what is important as she begins to reconcile with her mom.

From the opening cutting down of the Weeping Woman Totem Pole until the final aria is sung, the aptly titled Bring Me One of Everything is a thought provoking tale starring a seemingly compulsively obsessed woman with a gut need to know the whys of her subject. The debate over the "safety" of the totem poles is intelligent as readers will ponder between the museum with its easy accessibility and controlled environment or the natural habitat; ironically ownership was irrelevant during the 1950s and earlier as possession by the powerful was ten tenths of the law. With a deep look at Haida art and the subsequent cutting down and removal of the Totems, fans will appreciate Leslie Hall Pinder's fabulous insightful story.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Paperback
I recall the words of Rudolf Steiner, who once said something to this effect: if we don't develop in ourselves this deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve into something higher. Leslie Hall Pinder's new novel, Bring me One of Everything, is a finely crafted story woven with the threads of such a deeply rooted feeling. Alix's search for the truth of Austin Hart's life and death - the relationship between Alix and her mother, Sophia - these stories are told with soulfulness. The final instruction from Sophia - "to call out to the universe until it answers" - sounds the bell of faith and purpose; it leaves the reader feeling alive with the mysterious ways the universe unfolds for each of us.
The book's brilliance is the beauty of a gripping, spiritual story which resonates in place (Canada's northern British Columbia) and time (from the early days of colonization until now). And the story really is gripping - it is a true mystery. I started the book after my morning coffee, and did not put it down until late into the evening when I was done. It is a story which invokes and offers insights into notorious historical facts - facts which raise deep and troubling questions at the centre of archaeology, anthropology and law. The beginning point is the dramatic harvesting of totem poles. Haida poles were cut down - the stunning poles which recorded the ancient history of the Haida Peoples on Haida Gwaii. These poles are now housed at the Museum of Anthropology and in the province's capital. A certain brilliant and famous anthropologist, Wilson Duff, who led the expedition to take the poles, apparently believed at that time that it was a noble act to preserve a dying culture.
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Format: Paperback
A reader who stumbles onto Leslie Hall Pinder's Bring Me One of Everything will, like one of the novel's central characters, Alix Purcell, "be required to notice things outside" her "vaporous self." There is all kinds of noticing going on in this exceptional novel, as Purcell seeks to unravel the meaning and mystery in the life and death of anthropologist, Austin Hart.

Pinder's writing, as always, is lyrical and haunting. She leaves us with a novel, characters, and a world that bring in their wake an unnerving gaze at the lives of those who cannot outrun regret. Alix is told, by another writer who has attempted to sort through the acclaim and sorrow of Austin Hart's life, "You're not going to come out in one piece." Alix Purcell's effort to "follow clues to the unknown world" of Austin Hart and his infamous removal of totem poles from the Haida people on the North Coast of British Columbia for permanent location in a Vancouver museum present us with a shattered world, a world that Alix, and the reader, must live to reassemble.

In Bring Me One of Everything, Pinder writes with a poet's feel for language and imagery. She is a novelist who fishes in deep water and we can do nothing less than marvel at what she manages to catch.

Readers that discover Bring Me One of Everything will, understandably, want to read more from Leslie Hall Pinder. They will not be disappointed to find that Pinder's previous novels, On Double Tracks and Under the House are also intricately crafted, finely woven stories of a writer who seems to wear winged shoes as she navigates the tricky worlds in which we must try to live.
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