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Phantom Lake Cover Image

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North of 54 by

Goodreads rating: 4.00

Paperback, Published in Aug 2001 by University of Alberta Press

ISBN10: 0888644426 | ISBN13: 9780888644428

Page count: 228

Phantom Lake explores the stories, legends, and tall tales that make up “Flin Flon,” a real imaginary place perched on rocky outcrops and lakes of the Canadian Shield. Lakes and stories together draw Sproxton into their spell. He travels by trains, planes, Bombardiers and automobiles across the West to understand Flin Flon and so understand himself. The northern stories, like Shield Lakes seen from the air, become ink-blots to test the writer’s mettle. "Someone said the lake was named Phantom because of its deceptive bays. You think you're going one place and then you find you've gone somewhere else." In a series of trips—real and imagined—to the Manitoba-Saskatchewan mining district north of 54° latitude, the narrator seeks to find himself between the waters of the elusive Phantom Lake and the monster rocks of Flin Flon, famous for its strange name, legendary riches, and underground marijuana operations. In his quest, Sproxton encounters fictional characters in The Sunless City and The Lobstick Trail, two novels that imagine the town into existence. Sproxton tells of the first gold rush, the draining of Flin Flon Lake, the emergence of the open pit, smelter smoke and slag pour, headframes and tailings ponds. Stories of work and play— including prospectors Tom Creighton, David Collins, Kate Rice, explorers Alexander Henry, David Thompson and J. B. Tyrrell, and the man who became a gunslinger—are set North of 54 among a network of spectacular lakes reaching from Amisk (Beaver) to Athapapuskow to Wekusko (Herb). At the center of this fictional and historical mosaic lies the elusive Phantom Lake.

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