I literally just finished reading Into the Abyss by Carol Shaben and sat right down to write the review, which would come as no surprise to many of my colleagues who are no doubt sick of hearing about it.
It is the true story of a small plane crash in 1984 in northern Alberta, written by the daughter of one of the survivors.
At the beginning of the story we are introduced to characters that start out to be stereotypes (the politician, the Mountie, the prisoner and the pilot), however Shaben does an exceptional job fleshing out each man and the relationship they developed between them. The first half of the book describes the lead up to the disaster up until the four survivors are rescued. After that the author focuses on how each man changes his life as a result of his experience; like how the pilot eventually overcame his crippling guilt, or how the once career driven Mountie gave up everything in his years-long search for connection and meaning.
This book also had a very Canadian sensitivity for me. The author talked about the push for small airlines to connect remote northern communities to the rest of the country and the bush pilots that flew these dangerous routes; the rise of a premier who changed the relationship between the federal and provincial governments where oil and gas resources are concerned; beautiful descriptions of environments across western Canada — and come on, there was a Mountie!
Well written and a great story. I loved it.