In Nova Scotia, decades old leases negotiated between forestry companies
and the provincial government led to clear-cutting on crown land. The end of those leases - and the election of an NDP government - led
many environmentalists to see a golden opportunity, a chance to move
toward a more sustainable industry.
[Click on the book cover image to learn more about the book from Goodreads.com.]
The Way the Crow Flies by Anne-Marie MacDonald - based on the
Stephen Truscott story, set in early cold war in Ontario at a military
base. A murder mystery, abuse of power, divided loyalties, and great
This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski -
horrifying and unforgettable stories based on Borowski's time as a
prisoner in two concentration camps during WWII.
The Rest is Silence by Scott Fotheringham - Kind of a gentle apocalypse story, with gender bending.
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall - The genius is that he gives a sympathetic portrayal, yet shows exactly how fucked up polygamy is.
Room by Emma Donoghue - I blitzed through the first half to see
how the five-year-old narrator and his mom escape their cruel captor.
The second half was an usual surprise: the story of the post trauma, the
healing process. Gripping story (especially for a parent of small kids I
think), masterfully delivered.
Germinal by Emile Zola - Craziest story I ever read. Scenes I thought would never end - miners
marauding through the countryside leaving a swath of angry destruction,
women ripping the penis off their tormentor's dead body, the collapse
of the mine and the drawn out survival of some miners among the
relentless corpses of others floating in the floodwaters. Thank holiness I wasn't born in northern France 1860.
Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding
by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy - academic, but helped me understand parenting
(not only mothering) and community and the work I do and why.
Out of the Depths: The Experiences of Mi'kmaw Children at the Indian Residential School at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia by Isabelle Knockwood - A sad, powerful story that helped me better understand the attempted genocide of First Nations people.
A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System
by John S. Milloy - Context for Knockwood's survivor stories. Milloy
tells the stories of how these horrible facilities of systematic abuse,
and the attempt to destroy First Nations culture through their children,
came to be.
So I was tagged in a meme just for authors, and it gives me a good chance to talk about my new novel, which is seeking a good home. Here goes:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Before Drive-by Saviours came out Lesley Choyce read it, liked it, but suggested writing something with more local content. I thought about that and figured maybe it was time for the great contemporary Halifax novel. But everything I know about Halifax takes me back to the old Halifax County, where I grew up. And I remembered something Russell Smith said when were on a panel together and the MC, Stephanie Domet [having fun literary name dropping now here], noted that both our novels were very urban, and asked was that part of a trend away from country and village settings. Smith said maybe, but if so it would quickly be surpassed by suburban settings, which have the fastest growing population in the country, and a literarily under-explored one. So I set out to write a novel about suburban Halifax - the County as we called it - in the 80s and 90s. It's a tinderbox world created to meld affordable, safe, quiet green spaces
with the convenience of the city; for the kids growing up there, it is
neither convenient nor safe.
What genre does your book fall under?
Literary fiction, contemporary bleak, dark comedy
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
James Duval, Christian Bale and Larry the Cable Guy would play the three protagonists as adults. I'm not up on my child actors.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Three best buds, forever bonded by youth's shared masculine brawls and verbal jabs, struggle with their respective chosen careers in eco-terrorism, managing a cult and polygamous family, and welding; somehow their friendship no longer helps matters. [That semi-colon was a bit of a cheat, wasn't it?]
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Probably not. A quality independent publisher is my hope for it.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Five days. [My wife and child were out of town, so I got wild on that manuscript.]
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Stephen King's The Body, sort of. Though it's not even the same genre exactly. It's a modernized Stand by Me with a different body and a lot more drugs.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Aside from Lesley Choyce, it was inspired mainly by a lot of the guys I was tight with growing up, and also some of the guys I knew and did my best to avoid.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Prostitution. Pimping. Proselytism. Polygamy.
There's riot cops. 1990s Halifax memorabilia. The Cafe Ole. Violence. Sex. Bad swears. Drugs. Frat parties.
Did I mention eco-terrorism?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
Jeff Bursey, author of Verbatim (a truly innovative novel). I guess I'll be trying to line up my authors after the fact.
Halifax filmmaker Kevin Moynihan and I are teaming up to make a series of videos based on my book, Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada (which won the 2012 best Atlantic-published book and is a finalist for the 2012 Richardson non-fiction prize).
Our first video featured Off the Hook, an innovative community-supported
fishery co-op. The video was featured by David Suzuki on Facebook and
can be seen here.
We're now teaming up again to complete the
series on sustainable food in the region, and are giving crowd-sourcing a
try as a means to fund the endeavor. Up next for videos are Speerville
organic wholesaler in New Brunswick), Local Source (a small local food
retailer in Halifax), and Fair Acres (an organic family farm on P.E.I.).
Any help you can give - whether in the form of a contribution or
simply spreading the word through your networks - would be much
appreciated. Please click the link below to visit our indiegogo page and get full details:
It's time for my annual "Best
Books I Read Last Year" list, this time featuring 13 works of poetry,
novels, nonfiction and anthology. As usual, these books didn't
necessarily come out in 2010; that's just when I read them. This year,
you should too. [Click on the picture to find out more about the book.]
Goyette’s imagery is evocative, precise, tangible yet layered with meaning:
beyond biased here because I've got two poems in this anthology of
Halifax guerilla poetry, and I like the idea so much I've written a
feature about it. But I was genuinely impressed by the quality of work
from my town's closet poets:
Rogers elucidates how the failures of "green" or "natural" capitalism are the failings of capitalism itself:
dense and sprawling, but worth the effort. You know when people say,
"This is how the world really works!" Well, this is part of it:
actually a novel interspersed among reflections on a campaign to ban
uranium mining in Nova Scotia. I never quite figured out how they fit
together, but the former is engaging and entertaining and the latter is
inspirational and thought-provoking:
having accomplished everything a writer could hope for, seems to be
just having fun now. And it's a lot of fantastical fun to read too:
novel was a rollicking fantastic adventure through the idealism of the
60s and the coming of age bestowed by Vietnam. Above all, it had an
enormous sense of wonder:
Counter-intuitive to the title, for me these stories resonate with the sad truth of being a grownup:
is a natural story teller and he connected all the emotional dots,
providing a poignant tale of cultural change, the erosion of old ways
and the maturation of young talent and pride:
lady dialing 911 for love with all the wrong paramedics, the
crack-addicted mathematician scoring rock for Robert Oppenheimer, the
single condo-dwelling web designer more easily accepting the flaws of
his Andalucian woolfhound than those of human companions – all serve
Christie well as he masterfully illustrates the interwoven highs and
lows of urban isolation:
Takes you right there, with the protagonists, feeling their fears, anxieties, pain and stress:
is a good old-fashioned slog that probably wouldn't be published in the
modern Canlit scene. It's prose is poetry and it's best scenes are
heart-wrenching. In its entirety it is an unforgettable, honest portrait
of rural life, its hardship and its absolute dependence on community
even when community gets nasty:
again I'm totally biased because I have a short story in this one. But
once again I was genuinely impressed to find myself in such accomplished
It's fabulous company to be in, with legends like Sue Goyette, Wayne Johnston, Ami McKay, Marq de Villiers, Harry Thurston, David Adams Richards, well...the whole list. Check it out:
Top Ten Atlantic Canadian Books of 2011!
1. Facing the Hunter – David Adams Richards
2. A World Elsewhere – Wayne Johnston
3. The Virgin Cure – Ami McKay
4. Our Way Out - Marq de Villiers
5. Eco-Innovators – Chris Benjamin
6. outskirts - Sue Goyette
7. The Atlantic Coast; A Natural History – Harry Thurston
8. Chasing Freedom – Gloria Wesley
9. Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul – David Adams Richards
10. David Askevold – David Diviney
Honourable Mention: The Antagonist by Lynn Coady, A Possible Madness by Frank Macdonald, Gulf by Leslie Vryenhoek, That Forgetful Shore by Trudy Morgan-Cole, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Steven Laffoley, How Hockey Explains Canada by Jim Prime/Paul Henderson, deluded your sailors by Michelle Butler-Hallett