"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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nobody did it like Hemingway...

Hemingway at his peak, late 1930s

He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees. The mountainside sloped gently where he lay; but below it was steep and he could see the dark of the oiled road winding through the pass. There was a stream alongside the road and far down the pass he saw a mill beside the stream and falling water of the dam, white in the summer sunlight.

-Opening paragraph of my favourite novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, published in 1940.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

THE GOON reviewed in the PEI Guardian

By Elizabeth Cran
March 3, 2012

The Goon by Jerrod Edson (Oberon Press, Ottawa, no price given) is the young novelist's *third book, and, we think, his best so far.

It's the tale of Jack, a 58-year-old ex-NHL enforcer and a big old drunk. Jack works part-time on the toll bridge in Saint John (where Edson grew up) and spends the rest of the time chasing women, shooting pop cans in the woods behind his house, reminiscing and boasting and, of course, drinking.

He knows lots of people, but probably his only real friend is his old cat, Junior. With him in the story are his neighbour Roy, who's still grieving the death of his lover, Ken, five years ago, and his son, Cam. Cam is 17 and a really good hockey player, but afraid of everything.

These characters, and several others, are all more or less complex. Among the finest scenes are the death and burial of Junior and those surrounding Cam's successful fight with the opposing team's bully. The Goon begins with a trio of men stuck in their own past, but ends on a note of hope.

*Actually it's my fourth book.