Yukon writer Al Pope's engaging first novel introduces Connie, a young Toronto woman who decides she's had her fill of Queen West artistes and humid, polluted summers. Pope's tightly structured climax offers a race against time through the frozen wastes and a moral dilemma pitting a sled dog's savage innocence against the calculated savagery of humans.
Bad Latitudes is a brisk, gratifying, and finally, a gripping read..
Globe and Mail, Toronto
The winds out of the northwest are carrying news of literary happenings in the Yukon.
A perfect place to begin is Whitehorse resident Al Pope's very good first novel Bad Latitudes (Turnstone Press), a coming-of-age story reminiscent of Aritha van Herk's The Tent Peg.
(T)here is a crispness to the novel's descriptive palette that complements the north.s pale, sharply white light, as well as a rich abundance of detail about life in the northern bush, the handling of sled dogs, the subtle shifts of weather. Bad Latitudes also wonderfully evokes the social scene of the urban Yukon.
Pope has crafted a novel that vividly explores the tensions between the personal dreams of escape that draw people north, and the unexpected dreams that arise out of northern community.
VUE WEEKLY, Edmonton
The greatest success of Bad Latitudes is Pope's dexterity in writing a modernist novel that winds through social questions of sexuality, disability, and spousal abuse while creating a thrilling read, complete with dogsled racing, shootings and snowmobile crashes . the plot takes on an urgency that makes this book difficult to put down.
Evocative, lyrical descriptions almost made me weep to be back in the Yukon wilderness.
Bad Latitudes is a fine achievement.
Brian Brett, Yukon News
The writing is energetic, tense and affectionate. Pope is most at home when describing the mixture of modern and primitive in 1978 Yukon: modern-day placer mining techniques, boomtown construction and beer-soaked taverns in an uneasy co-existence with dog sleds, log cabins and moose hunting. He captures the sometimes uneasy relationships between born northerners, newcomers and southern-born, self-styled sourdoughs.
Winnipeg Free Press
A beautiful cover of a snarling Husky by Tetro Design highlights this female coming-of-age novel set in the Yukon. In the process of moving from Ontario 21-year-old Connie becomes friends with a woman trapper named Rowan who happens to be gay, and learns about hardscrabble living in winter. When Rowan suffers injury at the hands of the violent Dale, the greenhorn Connie must take charge, learn how to shoot, handle a team of Huskies (easier said than done) and survive a long journey to save Rowan's life. An enjoyable page turner.
W.P. Kinsella, Books in Canada