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Anna Maxymiw

  • Original Title: DIRTY WORK
  • Publication date: January 2019
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
  • Country: CA
  • Factual/Memoirs


  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: Canada
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Life change, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social relations, Reinventing oneself, Looking back on one's life, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Rivalry


A memoir that offers a glimpse into the joy, fear, filth and ferocity of working at a remote fishing lodge in the boreal forest.


Anna Maxymiw is a Canadian writer. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Maisonneuve, The Globe and Mail, Arc Poetry Magazine, and Hazlitt Magazine, and has won a National Magazine Award for humour.


When Anna Maxymiw accepts a summer job as a housekeeper at a fishing lodge in Northern Ontario, she has little idea what to expect. At twenty-three, she has decided to step away from her master's degree and city life to board a floatplane bound for the remote boreal forest.

For sixty-seven days, Anna will be working and living alongside twelve strangers. Together this group of young men and women will keep the lodge running. While the fishing guides head out on the water with the fishermen who are the lodge's guests, the women stay on land to clean and serve. Against the backdrop of a vast lake, wild storms, and hot days and eerily still nights, Anna encounters bears, bugs, and the lore surrounding the lake's legendary pike. As the summer progresses, complex (and sometimes fraught) bonds form between the men and women who work at the lodge, the ownership of the lodge changes hands, and tensions build. And Anna notices a shift in her outlook, too: she finds herself letting go of fears and insecurities and welcoming surprises and possibilities, both good and bad, with a willingness to be changed by them.

DIRTY WORK offers a singular perspective on the age-old impulse to leave familiar surroundings behind. This memoir is for anyone who has ever felt the urge to test themselves and wondered how they'd fare and who they'd be when they come out on the other side.

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