But if you’re in the market for a deeply thoughtful, beautifully written novel about first- and second-generation Ukrainians struggling to fit into comparatively bland, prosperous and easy Canadian society, this is absolutely your book. The setting is out-of-the-way Kalyna Beach, based on the real Georgian Bay, part of Lake Huron. An enterprising Ukrainian real estate agent has bought up a stretch of sand and bluffs and sold off lots to members of a Ukrainian community who live about six hours away, in Toronto. It is the mark of any upwardly mobile family to be able to send the wives and children away to a resort during the muggy summer months, and many families here do it, but at great psychic cost. Most of the men have been successful; one is even a millionaire who summers in a big house way up on the highest bluff. The other houses are ramshackle cabins, and the wives, though they have the luxury of an eight-week vacation, have their children to take care of, dishes to wash and laundry to do down in their respective basements, rubbing their knuckles raw on old-fashioned washboards.
There are quite a bit of Ukrainians in cottage-country Ontario, close to Toronto there are large pockets in Hawkstone, Sauble Beach and Tiny Township.