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The Coast Way by Louise Abbott

Finalist for The QSPELL Prize for Non-Fiction in 1989


What attracted Louise Abbott to the windswept landscape of the Lower North Shore of Quebec, where remote, isolated, fishing villages cling to the barren rock of small harbours? Perhaps it was her initial contact as a researcher for the CBC, or childhood memories of Montreal radio reports predicting miserable weather for that inhospitable coast. Fascinated by the place, Abbott spent four years documenting life in fishing villages such as Blanc Sablon, St. Augustine, and Kegaska.

The openness of local residents enabled Louise Abbott to create a remarkable documentary study of this overlooked region of Quebec. In The Coast Way, Abbott focuses on the people of the Lower North Shore and the ways in which their lives have changed during the past twenty years. She presents, in photographs and words, an image of a society in transition – where homemade birch brooms and satellite dishes sit side by side.

With a camera, taperecorder, and notebooks, Abbott has documented the impact change has had on this isolated community of English Quebecers, revealing her subjects as they revealed themselves to her.

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McGill-Queen's University Press

Montreal & Kingston