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Saltwater Cowboys by Dayle Furlong

For most people life isn’t a fairytale. It’s about muddling through. After generations of prosperity in the mining town of Brighton, Newfoundland, Jack and Angela McCarthy find themselves unemployed. In order to keep his family together, Jack accepts a job at a gold mine in the wilds of northern Alberta.

The first half of the book is about their tiresome journey to Foxville, Alberta. The long lonely trek via the old northern Canadian highway is at times depressing and cumbersome to read. At times they are right in the middle of a whiteout, inching along the highway, not able to see anything in the rear-view mirror, all the while dragging pounds of snow with them. Yes, as Canadians we can relate to this harsh reality of life in The Great White North.

Saltwater Cowboys articulates the reality of the economic system we live in. Lured by the promise of money and a better life, families uproot themselves from a life to which they have become accustomed to a life in exile from their homeland. Money is simply the bait that keeps them squirming and worming their way through life.

Jack and Angela’s journey through it all is fascinating. At one time they thought they had nothing; then as the harsh reality of the perils of choices catches up to them, they realize what it really feels like to have nothing.

Are they justified in the choices they make? As Jack’s friend Pete wrestles with the demons of right and wrong, he keeps his sanity thinking that he’s justified in doing it for the peace and respect for his family. For Jack, the ethical begin to blur. In trying to gain respect, will he go down a slippery slope losing all the respect his family had for him?

Saltwater Cowboys is a powerful story that evokes a glimpse into the Canadian landscape, poetically tapping into the beauty and harshness of Canada’s north, both in economic nuances and a terrain that is vastly daunting.

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle)