Originally published in 1975, Badlands has been heralded as a comic triumph for decades. The story starts in 1916, when scientist William Dawe leads a paleontological expedition into the badlands of Alberta, obsessed with achieving world renown by discovering dinosaur fossils. Fifty years later, his daughter, Anna, enters these same badlands. In her visit to the expedition site, she exposes not only the absurdity of her father’s work but also the folly of his male ambition and attitudes.
This new, beautifully packaged edition of Kroetsch’s classic novel is reborn and reimagined for a contemporary audience with stunning and haunting black and white images by master photographer George Webber accentuating the text.
Robert Kroetsch was born in Heisler, Alberta, in 1927. He grew up on his parents’ farm and studied at the University of Alberta and the University of Iowa. He taught at the State University of New York, Binghamton, until the late 1970s and then returned to Canada, where he taught at the University of Calgary and the University of Manitoba from the 1970s through the 1990s. Kroetsch also spent time at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts and many writer-in-residencies, where he powerfully influenced recent writing on the Canadian prairies and elsewhere. Robert Kroetsch died in a car accident near Edmonton, Alberta, in 2011.
George Webber is a renowned documentary photographer whose previous books include Prairie Gothic (RMB 2012) and Last Call (RMB 2010). He is the recipient of numerous National Magazine Awards (Canada), two Awards of Excellence from the Society for News Design (USA) and the International Documentary Photography Award (Korea). His photographs have been featured in American Photo, Canadian Geographic, Lenswork Quarterly, Photolife, The New York Times and Swerve magazine. In 1999 he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in recognition of his contributions to the visual arts in Canada.
Webber's startk, unpeopled visions offer a space of silence in which Kroetsch's words reverberate. His use of Kodak Infrared film creates vistas of otherworldy light and wells of darkness that render the badlands as monumental and eerie as they are in reality, if not more so.—Thomas Wharton, Alberta Views
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