David Carpenter's stories often begin in a comic mode, and the voices of the characters, their accents, tones and peculiar vocabularies, are brilliantly caught. But what begins as comedy can frequently veer into fierceness, farce, regret or indignation. On these unpredictable journeys, we meet an amorous Texas millionaire and his native fishing guide, a cow named Turkle, a farm girl who talks to bears, a kokum who speaks with departed spirits, a German scholar with a taste for saskatoon berries, an all-Jewish football team that takes a chance on a goy, an aboriginal folksinger who finds love in a laundry dryer and loses it in a motel, a monster northern pike named Adolph, a shy roaring-twenties photographer who hates dogs and loves peppermints.Most of Carpenter's characters are city people who find themselves out in the bush with the bear, deer, elk and wolves, and sometimes even Windigo. Carpenter has a strong relationship with the wild country of the northern boreal forest, the Saskatchewan prairies and the Alberta foothills. His prose is protean. It shifts into the minds and the voices of his characters and gathers the reader along to unexpected destinations: grief, joy, or a nicely shaded triumph often involving love, escape or an unexpected kind of revelation.