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By Emma Donoghue

Goldminer. Counterfeiter. Slave. Dishwasher. Prostitute. legal professional. Sculptor. Mercenary. Elephant. Corpse.

The vibrant, interesting characters that roam the pages of Emma Donoghue's tales have all long gone off target: they're emigrants, runaways, drifters, fans previous and new. They go different borders, too: these of race, legislation, intercourse and sanity. They commute for romance or cash, incognito or below duress.

With wealthy aspect, the distinguished writer of Room takes us from puritan Massachusetts to the Yukon gold rush, antebellum Louisiana to a Nineteen Sixties Toronto street. off track bargains us a shocking and relocating background for stressed instances.

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The measurement of Powell's brain stands for more than a weird preoccupation among intellectuals, and it certainly goes beyond Powell's jousting with McGee over the size of his favorite organ. In all of American science and letters, one would be hard pressed to find any figure as dedicated as john Wesley Powell to the synthesis ofknowledge across disparate fields. For him there was nothing that was not worth probing, weighing, ranking, and categorizing-not even his own remains. In a kind of intellectual "house that jack built," Powell attempted to inventory and classifY nearly everything he came to know: the watersheds of the American West, the lands within those watersheds and the occupations the land would support, the processes that gave the lands their form, the native tribes that inhabited the lands, the languages spoken by the tribes, the stages ofhuman development embodied both by the tribes and by the Euro-Americans who conquered them, and even the modes and rules of ideation by which the minds of native and conqueror alike operated.

To me they seemed to rapidly vanish in multiplicity, auditory perspective, or perauditory, like the telegraph poles on an outstretched prairie. I observed this same phenomenon once before among the cliffs near Long's Peak/2 and was delighted to meet with it again. J. W. Powell Long's Peak rises more than 14,000 feet in the heart of what is today Rocky Mountain National Park, northwest of Denver. Powell led a group of seven men, including Walter Powell and jack Sumner, in the first recorded ascent of the mountain, August 20-23, 1868.

Unfortunately, Clouds come on, and rain falls, and sun and moon are obscured. Much disappointed, we start on our return to camp,but it is late, and the clouds make the night very dark. Still we feel our way down among the rocks with great care, for two or three hours, though making slow progress indeed. At last we lose our way, and dare proceed no farther. The rain comes down in torrents, and we can find no shelter. We can neither climb up nor go down, and in the darkness dare not move about, but sit and 'weather out' the night.

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