The Miss Hereford Stories


143 pages
ISBN 1-55054-160-9
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Janet Money

Janet Money, formerly the sports editor of the Woodstock Daily
Sentinel-Review, is a freelance writer and editor in London, Ontario.


In this collection of linked stories, we follow Martin Winkle (who
serves as first-person narrator) from childhood through to young
manhood. The stories are set in the tiny imaginary town of Likely,
Alberta, a rural village where farming doesn’t change much and trends
are unknown. In the opening story, “Miss Hereford,” townsfolk debate
the morality of staging a contest to pick a young woman to be a cow
ambassador. We’re also introduced to the Lamentations Church, a
fundamentalist institution that influences Martin (but not too much) as
he matures. One sign of “the end times” at Lamentations is the
prospect of Pierre Trudeau’s being elected prime minister.

As the stories progress, Martin grapples with homosexuality,
harassment, the angst of romance, and the agonies of telling the truth.
Cows run amok, have virgin births, and die accidentally, serving as a
running subplot to the human action. In the final story, “Getting to
Know You,” an anxious Martin brings his girlfriend, a vegetarian weed
specialist, home to meet his family, which is desperate to marry him
off. Anderson-Dargatz relates these stories with humor and skill. This
is a solid and enjoyable collection.


Anderson-Dargatz, Gail., “The Miss Hereford Stories,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,