About this book
Set in a fictional village in southeastern British Columbia, in a valley near the Rockies, The Wheel Keeper tells the story is the child of an Italian-Canadian family in a predominantly Italian-Canadian village. The story revolves around two central events: the grandmother's forced emigration from Italy as a young woman—an unwed mother, she must either flee or give up her child to the church—and the building of a hydroelectric dam which will flood the village.
From the late 1800s on, many peasants left southern Italy to work in the orchards and vineyards of Argentina and of British Columbia. These peasants were called golondrinas: the swallows. This is a story about displacement and the ways children overcome fragmentation through ritual, memory, identity, and relation.