The Fencepost Chronicles
Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.
The enterprising youth group of the Hobbema Reserve in Alberta, Frank Fencepost, Silas Ermineskin, and their assorted friends and accessories, are familiar figures to readers of the stories of Kinsella’s persona, Silas. These 13 new tales almost, but not quite, come up to the very high standards of the earlier collections. Silas and Frank have run through their routines quite a few times now and it is only just so funny to have a visitor’s car stripped while the boys divert his attention, to humiliate Brother Bob, white husband of Silas’s sister Illianna, or to careen about the country on missions plainly doomed to disastrous endings. The dialogue remains amusing, and it isstill wickedly satisfying when the good guys (Silas and his buddies) outsmart and outmaneuver the enemy (the Canadian establishment) at every turn; but the bitter streak that has always accented the Hobbema hijinks is increasingly in evidence. The party seems to be turning sour.