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Virtual Clearcut

Or, The Way Things Are in My Hometown

by Brian Fawcett

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literary, forests & rainforests, globalization
list price: $16.99
also available: Hardcover
published: 2014
publisher: Dundurn

In the Bowron River valley of British Columbia, there is a logging clearcut so vast that astronauts can see it. Sixty kilometers to the northwest lies Prince George, a once-thriving city of 80,000 that has experienced an accelerating 40-year virtual clearcut that has slashed through the strata of its economic and social culture, wiping out its locally- owned businesses and industries, demoralizing its public institutions and its local politics, and creating a psychological quagmire of entertainment opportunities, consumer franchises, and dreams that won't come true.

Prince George has lost its ability to control its destiny, and is losing its will to care. Author Brian Fawcett, who grew up in Prince George and has followed its steady decline, draws a troubling parallel between the shattered forests of Bowron and the gradual destruction of a town's confidence and quality of life, a wake-up call to the rest of the world.

Virtual Clearcut is classic Fawcett: a blend of unconventional analysis, poignant vignettes, and biting humour. His concern is for the condition of good people and places hit hard by globalization, and how the globalists are harvesting so much more than mere profits from the hinterlands.

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Editorial Reviews

A guerrilla for literacy, Fawcett is passionate, articulate, and intelligent.

— Globe and Mail

... a brilliant, must-read book that will at once enlighten and infuriate you.

— Prince George Citizen

[Fawcett] approaches this loaded material with a probing intelligence that refuses to draw purely ideological conclusions, performing a kind of intellectual martial arts that pins his opponents with their own self-serving rationalizations and habitual emotions.

— Toronto Star

The most interesting writer in the country.

— Stan Persky

...this book's unique contribution lies in its portraiture. [Fawcett] captures the people of Prince George, with all their humour, fears and decency, whether they are cruising for Costco bargains or going out of business selling the thrift-store knickknacks of a fading middle class.

— Vancouver Sun

...a passionate, insightful book...

— Owen Sound Sun Times

Reading Virtual Clearcut is like looking in a mirror for the first time and realizing, maybe we could have taken better care of ourselves.

— Prince George Free Press

...provocatively frightening...not without gentler insights about the nature of place and the power of friendship.

— Georgia Straight

The prose in Virtual Clearcut is jaw-droppingly good...one of the best non-fiction books ever to come out in Canada.

— NOW Magazine

...a thoughtful account of dark forces operating in small towns across the country...Fawcett crafts interesting characters out of friends and locals, avoiding both condescension and sentimentality (no small feat)...Despite all the doom and gloom, Fawcett also manages to infuse his work with positivity.

— Quill & Quire
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