July 7, 2010

The Order of Good Cheer, by Bill Gaston

Way, way back, many yonks ago, I studied creative writing for one year at the University of Victoria. And Bill Gaston was one of my teachers. Since I was young and easily impressed, I was very impressed to have a published author as a teacher. So I went out and read most, if not all, of his books. They were good, as I remember. And then apparently I totally forgot about him for 10 years until one day I wasn't sure what to request from the library and decided to get one of his newer books. This one.

This book kind of frustrated me. It was divided into 2 alternating sections. One story was about the voyageurs and Samuel Champlain trying to survive a Canadian winter in 1606. The book started off with that, and for the first few Champlain sections, I fought boredom, and actually resorted to skimming rather than reading a few pages. The other story I did like. It was about a 39 year old man in present day Prince Rupert. Andy essentially gets paid to read at work, and he does so voraciously. Currently he's reading about that winter 4 centuries ago. See the tie-in? Most of the book he waits for his high school girlfriend to move home from Toronto. I began to wonder if she would ever get back.

There was a rather heavy-handed global warming / environment theme, which I felt didn't fit in quite naturally. This book was undoubtedly crafted well and with talent, but for me, it didn't quite hit the spot.

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