Backwater Mystic Blues
By Lloyd Ratzlaff
Shortlisted for the Non-Fiction Book Award and Saskatoon Book Award, 2006 Saskatchewan Book Awards
Backwater Mystic Blues is a suite of intimate essays that summon the secret hiding spots, makeshift rafts and uncomplicated childhood joys that lay the foundations for adult philosophy
Lloyd Ratzlaff is in tune with the vivid simplicities of the sensuous world and the honour of unassuming people. These essays assemble the disguises shaped by religion, family, and memory as much as they recreate the delight, discovery and illumination that his past has offered. And whether you sit back and savour the ribald yarns of Sandra Dee or pick up a bit of Christian dating advice circa 1950s, remember, the tombstones are talking, and the child’s cookie box found in the river may contain miracle or misery — but you won’t know until you open it.
“Backwater Mystic Blues is an extended aide memoire of . . . everyday objects and gestures, retrieved from memory and made to live again in a phosphorescent prose that ‘restores the world to word’ as he writes and whistles in the dark.”
– Myrna Kostash
“As the title suggests, the essays sing the blues, touching readers as music does, not through linear development or logical exposition but through scenes that resonate emotionally: past reverberates with present and ordinary stuff is transposed into mystical keys . . .In this second installment of reflective, irreverent, worshipful essays, Ratzlaff bends our usual angles of vision and sheds light and color on religious experiences of one kind or another.” – Edna Froese, Journal of Mennonite Studies