The School of the Haunted River



By Colleen Gerwing

We are all born of a river, and that in itself should be enough.

On a two-week outdoor winter snowshoeing trip in northern Saskatchewan with her niece Dilly, outdoor adventurer Jay tells stories as they hike and camp. Some are true – her outdoor training in Wyoming, her early life on the farm – and some are stories within stories within stories. A faux diamond necklace that mysteriously appears and disappears, Jay’s youthful encounters with the mysterious Cowboy, an inspiring series of books that she read on her long-ago canoe trip alone – all are underscored by Jay’s love and respect for the wild.

In The School of the Haunted River, the late Colleen Gerwing fashioned a novel based on her own life as an outdoorswoman, a novel about the natural world that will haunt and enchant even as it educates you.


“With tender care and deep empirical knowledge gained over many years, Colleen Gerwing invites readers into the landscape she loves best: northern Saskatchewan. This autobiographical novel’s language, imagery, narrative flow, and characters all bring her story to vibrant and compelling life. Gerwing offers wise, helpful, and illuminating insight into the nature of life and death, into that fine line between ‘now’ and ‘then,’ and the enduring and essential connections between us and the natural world.”—J. Jill Robinson, award-winning author of More in Anger

”All the wildlife encounters, weather woes, a ‘scourge of mosquitoes,’ portage and river challenges, and the hunger one would expect from an extended, solitary canoe journey are here, but it’s the revelations about self and humanity that raise this book to a higher level. Gerwing ingeniously weaves her engaging life-story into an adventure novel and fills it with life lessons and poetic gems…Thank you, Colleen Gerwing, for transporting us to your sanctuary.”Shelley A. Leedahl, SaskBooks Reviews

Additional information

Weight .774 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.6288 in

Trade Paperback, EPUB


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