Same Truck Different Driver


129 pages
ISBN 0-919671-04-7





Reviewed by Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick is a librarian at Ryerson Polytechnical University.


This collection of short stories by Mel Dagg is really more a series of first-person vignettes from the life of his fictional character, Danny Stone. Danny is a sensitive drifter who leaves his Vancouver Island home to travel around, whaling and fishing on the west coast, living on a reserve and farming with the Indians on the prairies, longing to be in the west when he is in Montreal.

The stories are linked not only by the central character, but also by the common theme of loss. Dagg presents a nostalgic evocation of a mourned past, and of a loss of innocence both personal and cultural. For Danny, it is the loss of his father and the ending of an era on the island; the drowning of his romantic dreams of the whale hunt in his revulsion at the actual event; the ending of a love affair; his regard for the Indian myth and magic and his distress at their treatment by the whites. For the Indians, it is the loss of their culture, history, and way of life, and the breaking of the pride of some Indians at their diminishing sense of identity.

Dagg’s lean, pared-down prose style and efficient use of words, coupled with a subject matter which includes salmon-fishing, whale hunting and truck driving, make the stories slightly reminiscent of Hemingway, but without the macho undercurrent.

These are moving stories, particularly those concerning the Indians. With this book, Dagg has made an important contribution to Canadian literature.


Dagg, Mel, “Same Truck Different Driver,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,