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A bartender who discovers magic on a winter night, a pair of losers taking a baking class, and a middle-aged woman who goes on a wild limo ride with the ghost of John Diefenbaker. These are a few of the amazing array of characters who live in, or near, Sharon MacFarlane’s fictional village of Palliser, a community struggling to survive in an age of rural depopulation.

Whether its a terrifying drive on a frozen river ("Ice Road") or a cancelled trip ("We Didn’t Go to Len’s This Summer"), each of the stories in Driving off the Map takes us, with a character, on a journey toward epiphany.

MacFarlane understands these people, and she tells their secrets with humour and compassion. Her prose is as unadorned, yet as teeming with hidden life and beauty, as the prairie she evokes.

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