"Edson’s vivid portrayal of the urban area, as well as the working class and underclass, creates a vision of Saint John that highlights the discrepancy between the pre-modern idyllic notion of life in Atlantic Canada and the more complicated reality of the region."

-The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia

Friday, August 26, 2011


The Goon has made the shortlist for the 2011 Relit Awards...The longlist of 60-odd novels has now been whittled down to 10 and I'm still in the running...This was my third time on the longlist but the first time being shortlisted for any literary prize.

Founded by Newfoundland master storyteller Kenneth J Harvey in 2000, the Relit Awards are probably the most honestly-judged literary award in the country and being on the shortlist will no doubt get The Goon some much-needed exposure. This is a big boost for me, regardless if I win or lose...but damn, I want to win it.

Here's what Chad Pelley recently said about the Relit Awards:

The ReLit Awards honour and shine a light on some of the best books of the year published by Canadian independent presses … and in that sense, they’re one of the most important, purposeful, and beneficial awards out there.

Click on the link below for the announcement of the shortlists in The Globe and Mail:


Click the link below for the Relit Awards Homepage:


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chuck Palahniuk's FIGHT CLUB

"Have you ever read Fight Club?" my brother-in-law asks.
"No," I say. "But I've got it on my shelf."

The Chuck Palahniuk novel had been sitting on my bookshelf for ten years; one of many books I'd stockpiled for another day. Once I was asked if I'd ever read it, I was interested again.

I just finished it, and wow, what a great book--a quick and easy read that keeps you glued. I'd like to go on about the differences between the book and the movie, or about Palahniuk's flowing, straightforward style, but I won't. After all, the first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.

Read it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011 Eden Mills Writers' Festival

I'll be reading from The Goon at the 2011 Eden Mills Writers' Festival. This will be my second time reading there. I have also been asked to be one of the judges for the Fringe Literary Contest so I'll be busy in the next few weeks reading submissions.

Below is my author's bio on EMWF's website:

According to David Adams Richards, “Read Jerrod Edson. He is one of our best young writers.” Jerrod was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, and attended Carleton and York universities. His novels The Dirty Milkman and A Place of Pretty Flowers attracted some attention, but it was The Goon published in 2010 by Oberon Press that has established Jerrod as one of the best New Brunswick writers. In telling the story of main character Jack Jones, once an enforcer in the NHL, “Edson embodies his hometown—tough, rough, haunted, full of equal parts unfulfilled ambition and heart,” says the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.

If you are interested in attending this year's festival, here's the link:


The Goon reviewed in Front&Centre Magazine

The Goon
June 25, 2011
by Jerrod Edson
Oberon Press, p. 153, $19.95
Review by Matthew Firth
The Goon tells the story of Jack Jones, a washed-up former NHL enforcer adjusting to life after his glory days have passed. Jack played twenty seasons in the NHL, followed by two seasons of senior hockey in St John, New Brunswick. He then settled in St John to work as a bridge toll-booth operator. Jack boasts that he is writing a memoir of his playing days to anyone who will listen when he drinks and rehashes the past.
Roy Sweeney is Jack’s neighbour. His son Cam is a flashy, offensively-gifted rookie hockey player in the same senior league Jack played in at the close of his career. Roy is a retired teacher. He’s gay and in mourning for a partner who is five years deceased. Jack and Roy start an unlikely friendship one afternoon when Jack accidentally shoots his gun near Roy. Jack gets the idea that Roy – being an educated man – can help him write his book. Roy agrees, mostly because he is bored and lonely in retirement. They grow closer, attending hockey games together, drinking and providing each other with companionship. All the while, the book doesn’t get written but this doesn’t really matter. The real story is how these two men cope with life after their passions have fizzled and died.
Cam’s hockey career is a sub plot. He’s a small player who ends up being ostracized by his teammates for not taking part in a bench-clearing brawl. Eventually, Cam goes to Jack for help, the sort of help that lands Cam in hospital as he tries to win back the respect of his teammates.
The Goon is an entertaining and fluid novel that works well because Edson does not resort to cliché in telling the story. Sure, Jack Jones drinks, chases after a waitress, and dismisses the current generation of hockey players for being too soft but his compassion for Roy shows human depth and courage well beyond what is needed to drop the gloves in an NHL hockey game. Likewise, Edson avoids cliché with Roy: a gay painter who is also a hockey dad in a rough, mid-sized Canadian city. These are memorable characters to be sure.
One particular criticism stands out and it’s based on the fictional statistical record of Jones provided at the end of the book. Looking at the numbers, I’m not convinced they are plausible, based on the time when Jack would have played (from 69-70 to 88-89 in the NHL). I have a few beefs: the penalty minute numbers are way too low. Anyone who would have been a fighter with Boston in the mid-1970s would have had way more penalty minutes. Recall Dave Schultz set the NHL record for PIMs at this time with 472 in a season. Jack has less than half this much in any season. Also, Jack’s goals and assists are way too low for a 1970s enforcer. That was before current fourth-line enforcers who do little more than fight were on NHL rosters. Schultz and others took a regular shift and were also decent hockey players. Schultz was a 20-goal scorer one year; Tiger Williams once scored 35 goals. Edson has Jones scoring 0 goals in 76-77, which is inconceivable over a full season. Likewise, many NHL tough guys were decent scorers in junior. Williams was a 50-goal man in junior. Enforcers adapted to their tough guy role in the NHL in the 1970s and 1980s. Edson has Jack scoring only 6 total goals as a forward in his entire junior career, which never would have put him on an NHL roster in the early 70s. The statistics presented are more like the numbers of guys like Colton Orr and Trevor Gillies, current, talentless NHLers who truly almost never score and only fight. In the 1970s and early 80s when Jack Jones was supposed to have played, it was a different story entirely. Edson should have ensured Jones’ numbers were more in keeping with the era in which he played. This might seem like a minor quibble but to me it affects the authenticity of the novel’s lead character.

Find more Front&Centre Book Reviews here:

The Goon Longlisted for the 2011 ReLit Awards

The Goon has been longlisted for the 2011 ReLit Awards in the "Best Novel" category. It really is a very long list so there's no real accomplishment here. If it gets shortlisted then it would be cause for celebration. I don't have any expectations.

From the ReLit Awards website:

Canada's ReLit Award--founded to acknowledge the best new work released by independent publishers--may not come with a purse, but it brings a welcome, back-to-the-books focus to the craft. -Amazon.com

Here's the link: