Setting is crucial to The Cottagers and Marshall Klimasewiski gets it all right. The Cottagers concerns two couples, academics on summer vacation on Vancouver Island. One of the great pleasures of the book is how precisely and accurately he describes the dark woods, the smell of loamy balsam, mist, salt, and kelp. As the Brooklyn couple emerges from their car, the smell hits them--intense, both new and familiar.
The loneliness and resentment--Marshall’s word from Wednesday morning and the right one, I think--of a small, northern town on the verge of being a vacation resort is something I know intimately, love deeply.
If, like me, you’re longing for a hit of that intensely contrasting landscape of deep forest greens and icy pale blues, salt and balsam, a waft of blackberries mixed with the deep, wet smell of fertile soil, then The Cottagers gets the setting--dark and fertile, just right.