Archive for the ‘Drift-of-Life’ Category
If a heart is torn apart in the Canadian arctic and no one hears it, did it really happen? Elizabeth Hay would answer a resounding â€śyes.â€ť
All of her characters â€“ a diverse group of wounded lost souls who work together in a small Yellowknife radio station in the mid-1970s â€“ are aching. Harry â€“ the curmudgeonly acting manager with the cauliflower ear â€“ has returned from a gig in television with his tail between his legs. Dido ran from the only man she ever loved â€“ her own father-in-law — and quickly connects with the station â€śbad boy,â€ť Eddy. Eleanor fled from the memories of a husband who could not consummate their reunion. And Gwen, the youngest, who arrives at Yellowknife â€śsubtle in her camouflageâ€ť with a buff-grey shirt with a pale brown collar and no adornment, is looking to make a fresh start in an area in which fresh starts are legendary.
December 22, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Arctic, Elizabeth Hay Â· Posted in: Canada, Character Driven, Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Giller Prize, Literary, Reading Guide, y Award Winning Author
For the longest time, growing up in rural Virginia, Birdie Baker is convinced she is destined to follow the path set forth by her devout Christian parents. Like them, as a Jehovahâ€™s Witness, she will spread the word of the Lord, marry, settle down and wrap it up. But the sense of unease that plagues her even after she is married to a church-going man named Judah, is worsened when she runs into her high school drama teacher at the grocery store. â€śWhat are you still doing here?â€ť he asks, â€śI figured the next time I saw you it would be in a movie.â€ť Eventually, leave Virgina she does. Birdie pools all her savings toward a one-way bus ticket to Los Angeles.
Tim Thornton, the author of THE ALTERNATIVE HERO and DEATH OF AN UNSIGNED BAND springs from the Nick Hornby realm of fiction. Hornby, one of the most interesting British writers of his generation excels with the creation of the fictional disconnected male obsessive and his two great loves: music and sports. Now hereâ€™s Tim Thornton, and his wonderful, engaging and very funny book, The Alternative Hero. First the disclaimer: if you donâ€™t like music, then go away you boring person. But if youâ€™re like me and connect various episodes of your misspent youth with the music of the day (whatever era that may be), then thereâ€™s an excellent chance that you may enjoy this book–the tale of a thirty-something who never really got over the carefree days of concerts, music memorabilia, and the unrestrained hero worship of a rock musician.
Itâ€™s difficult to compare Per Petterson with anyone except Per Petterson. His writing is always exquisite and precise and heartbreaking and spare. In OUT STEALING HORSES and TO SIBERIA, each word is used as a brick, building one upon the other, and not one brick is out of place.
Per Pettersonâ€™s craftsmanship is on display here, as it has been in his prior novels. Alas, I CURSE THE RIVER OF TIME, which explores the relationship between a mother and a son, is more static and sluggish than his other works. Still, Petterson at his less-than-best is still better than most writers at the height of their powers.
Nick Hornby novels translate well into film. Just think about HIGH FIDELITY and ABOUT A BOY, which have taken their place in the movie catalogs of many Hornby fans since their release. His latest work, JULIET NAKED, seems to possess the same potential. Well, the first scene does anyway, which would make a great opening shot: a forty-year-old Brit having his photo taken at a urinal in a Minneapolis club where his musical hero decided to stop writing songs in 1986. The photographer in this scene, Annie, has accompanied her â€“ â€śPartner? Life Partner? Friend?â€ť â€“ of fifteen years, Duncan, to America. On a quasi-religious pilgrimage, they visit singer-songwriter Tucker Croweâ€™s points of interest â€“ birthplace, career-ending urinal, and home of the beautiful woman who inspired Tuckerâ€™s greatest album, Juliet.
Steve Abee has created, in JOHNNY FUTURE, a character with a unique voice and energy. He represents a blend of a hyper-urbanized Holden Caulfield, sassy and street-smart, with a big-hearted and wide-eyed Huck Finn. It is no small matter that I compare Johnny Future, the character, with these two icons of American literature. I find him that compelling, his voice that unrelenting. It is a voice that becomes less concise and more shrill in the latter half of the novel, but that is to be expected, given the course of events. What else would you expect from a guy named Future, with a hooker girlfriend named America, a buddy named Jesus and sidekick called Beast? But I am getting ahead of myself.