Ostenso's major achievement, Wild Geese, was her only novel set in Canada. A compelling romance, it realistically explores the strange unity between man and nature, and the spareness of both physical and spiritual life in a pioneering farm community. Originally titled The Passionate Flight, it won the lucrative first-novel prize offered by The Pictorial Review, the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation and Dodd, Mead & Co. It has recently come to light, however, that Durkin collaborated extensively with Ostenso on the novel, but because he had already published, it was submitted only under her name. (Ostenso had published In a Far Land, a volume of poetry, in 1924.) In spite of their continued co-operative efforts, none of Ostenso's subsequent dozen works of fiction, including The Dark Dawn (1926) and The Mad Carews (1927), achieved the power and insight of Wild Geese.
Author DONNA COATES