Emily Schultz: Grimsby Author Series

IMG_2313The crowd in Grimsby was treated to a conversation with Emily Schultz and enables to purchase Men Walking on Water the day before it was released.  I had previously been thrilled to win a copy of this substantial tome from a Goodreads Giveaway and look forward to reading it following the Canada Reads debates.  The book was introduced as being full of lies, intrigue and deceit during the 1920s period of rum running from Windsor to Detroit.

Emily Schultz is a native of South Western, Ontario.  She graduated from the University of Windsor and joined the large crowd in Grimsby after driving straight through from her current home in Brooklyn, New York.  Emily is not only a novelist but is also a screen writer, producer, poet and co-founder of Joyland Magazine.

The audience learned that this was her second visit to the Grimsby Author Series (first for her novel The Blondes).   I was fascinated to learn that she hosts a blog called Spending the Stephen King money.  Before I talk about her latest book, I have added an abridged comment from her blog explaining her blog and the confusion with Stephen King’s novel which led to a royalty windfall:

I’m Emily Schultz. My first novel came out eight years ago. It was called Joyland. Last year Stephen King released a print-only novel with the same title. That was cool, until a few King readers bought the e-book version of my novel by mistake and started leaving negative and confused Amazon reviews…   Apparently there were a lot of confused readers as this week I got a—for me—big royalty check for those mistaken books…  but I thought a blog detailing how we’re spending the Stephen King money would be a nice way to end this funny and strange story.

The blog is entertaining and Stephen King even tweeted that Emily was his “new hero”.  Her blog features pictures of each purchase ranging from books, to a new laptop, a haircut and a car repair along with her comment on “would Stephen King would like it”.  During the processs both authors bought each other’s book.  What a fun (and entertaining) mistake!

Back to the book event – Men Walking on Water is a story of rum running from Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan inspired by a family secret.  As an 8 year old, immersed in old-fashioned experiences and music, Emily learned that her grandfather had been a rum runner in the 1920s after being “railroaded” into the family business by his father.  She was told not to talk about it as her grandfather was proud to be an upstanding citizen at this point.  She learned about her Uncle Alfred who had drowned driving across the ice.  Emily admitted that the story “gave me shivers” thinking about the rumours of whether it was an accident rum running, a suicide mission or whether he was racing another car across the ice.  Her grandfather carried this grief his entire life.

In Men Walking on Water,  which is described to be full of lies, Alfred does not really drown.  He abandons his wife and child, moving to New York.  Emily reads a selection of the novel, where Alfred is in New York, living his new life.

The book took over 8 years to write.  She began writing the first 60 pages and decided “this is really good, I think” .  At the time she felt unqualified to write it and backed away from the project to write the Blondes.  When her father was dying, she invigorated the project, putting her son in daycare to write 14 hours a week.  Her father had helped with the research including driving across the Ambassador bridge together taking photos together.  Unfortunately, the novel was not done in time for her father to read it.

She spoke about her large cast of characters and how all of them had met either through crime or through church.  She was asked whether she had a favourite character and conceded that “I think I am a little bit of all the characters”.  She inserted family names into the text including her own nickname, “the kid” for a character with a lot of spunk and a good heart.  Her Dad’s name was assigned to a rum runner.

Emily was a dynamic speaker and took pictures of the audience to tweet to her followers (a repeat performance from her first visit).  Her passion for the topic was evident and she took time to speak with individuals as she signed each book trying to tie in a song title from the 1920s.  I am looking forward to reading and reviewing Men Walking on Water and will keep my eyes out for a copy of The Blondes.

“All books grow in directions you don’t expect”.

Globe and Mail Article:  Prohibition-era novel Men Walking on Water a departure for Emily Schultz

Grimsby Library review of event

Posted in Book signing, Canadian, Grimsby Author Series, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lynne Kutsukake: Grimsby Author Series

IMG_2317It is hard to believe that the 2016-17 season of the Grimsby Author Series is over!  The season has been full of amazing authors, great reading and wonderful introductions, not to mention the wine and snacks.  It is certainly worth the drive to Grimsby for this fantastic author series!  The audience was treated to a wonderful evening, ending  the season with readings by Lynne Kusukake and Emily Schultz!

Lynne Kutsukake is a 3rd generation Japanese Canadian.  Both her parents had been assigned to internment camps in the interior of British Columbia.  They were both second generation Japanese Canadians, having been born in Canada.  At the end of the war, Japanese Canadians were given the choice to move East within Canada, leaving the familiarity of BC, or to be repatriated to Japan, a country that many had never even been to.  Her parents left for Toronto to find work.  They met later and both never spoke of their hurtful past.  They did not teach their daughter Japanese which was common in a time of sensitivity and worries about being targeted.  English was necessary to live in Canada and Lynne did not learn Japanese until she was in her 20s.  Sadly neither of her parents lived to read her beautiful novel.

Before writing The Translation of Love, Lynne enjoyed a career at the amazing Toronto Reference Library.  She was a librarian that specialized in Japanese materials so it seems natural that she would retire to write this book, sharing a sad part of history that many Canadians might not be aware of.

The book is set in 1947 Tokyo and was inspired by letters that were sent to General MacArthur during the post-war American occupation of Japan.  The Japanese people were hopeful despite critical food shortages and wrote to the General asking for help.  Fascinated by the letters, Lynne shared that a collection of letters is stored in the National Archives in the U.S.   It was interesting to learn that some historians postulate that MacArthur never read a single letter, while others feel that he read them but did not reply (it was interesting to learn that President Obama made it a practice to read 10 letters each day, while in office).  MacArthur referred to the Japanese as a nation of twelve year olds which inspired Lynne to write from the perspective of 12 year old Fumi (who was struggling to find her sister) and of her friend Aya (who had been repatriated from a Canadian internment camp).  Her goal was to write about the people who might not always have a voice:  the Japanese children, the Japanese Canadian girl and the Japanese American soldier.

Kutsukake shared that it is the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the internment.  Despite this sad milestone news coming from the United States is full of concerns about the treatment and possible deportation of Muslims by Trump (I almost hate to bring him up in a blog post but his behaviours keep coming up at almost every book event).

“It is important to see how history, without us being on guard, can repeat it self”.

Lynne read the first chapter to the group and I appreciated hearing her pronunciation of the names.  Her reading kept the audience rapt with attention followed by an opportunity for questions.

She was asked why she chose fiction rather that non-fiction to tell this story and she laughed that fiction provided the freedom to make things up, to create characters and to get into the minds of the characters.  She had never thought of writing non-fiction and her novel grew organically beginning with the idea of McArthur’s letters (she had written the examples of letters in her book rather than using real letters).  She had begun thinking of writing a short story and “somehow it got bigger than that”!

Lynne indicated that once she got started, she would write out scenes, not knowing where they would go.  She would become attached to the paragraphs and had to find a way to connect them together.  It is obvious that she spent a great deal of time writing, rewriting and polishing each paragraph to form this novel which takes the reader to Japan from the viewpoint of a young girl missing her beloved sister.  It is not only a story of love, strength and resilience but teaches the reader some history along the way.

As written in my review of Translation of Love, I enjoyed the characters and as the pages dwindled, I did not want the story to end.  I was able to ask the author about writing a sequel and while she appreciated my praise, she simply said that she did not know.  I do hope that she considers a sequel to describe  more about these characters, how they survive the occupation and how the girls grow up in the shadow WW2.

I appreciate meeting Canadian authors who have held other careers and lived lives prior to writing stories that move, teach and entertain readers.  This gives me hope that someday, I might share a novel with others at a similar event!  I sure hope that we have an opportunity to read more fiction by Lynne Kutsukake!

 

Posted in Book signing, Canadian, Grimsby Author Series, Historical Fiction, Meet the Author | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Canada Reads Trailers

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-6-31-55-pmBy this point, everyone knows that I am excited for the Canada Reads debates to start on Monday.  I am hoping to finish my reading over the weekend but in the meantime, am sharing the link to the trailers of each book which were posted on CBC today.

Happy reading and let the debating begin…

Posted in Canada Reads, Canadian | Tagged | Leave a comment

Who is looking forward to Canada Reads?

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-6-31-55-pm

Canada Reads is quickly approaching.  The CBC site has a lot of great content posted here and there is much discussion about the 5 books that are competing to be the one book that all Canadian’s should read.

Which books have you read?  What do you think?  Which book has your vote for the one book that Canadian’s should read?

I am still reading and need to finish the Right to be Cold, start The Break and reread Fifteen Dogs.  I have completed Company Town and Nostalgia and really hope to have all 5 done before the debates begin.

CBC Canada Reads does a wonderful thing for Canadian literature.  We might not all love every book but this event not only promotes and sells CanLit but it gets people reading and talking!  Thanks to the CBC, The Franklin Street Little Free Library has a set for borrowing.  I am hoping that each reader will sign their name in the front before returning the book so that we can see how many readers enjoy these novels.

For anyone interested in lively discussion about the books and the debate, check out the Canadian Content group on Goodreads where there is specific discussion of The Break (the group read for March) and in general about the debate and all the books.

Get reading Canada!!  Tune in to the debates… and maybe, if you watch carefully you will spy me in the audience at the final debate next Thursday!!

Posted in Canada Reads | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

23. The Translation of Love (Lynne Kutsukake)

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.01.25 PMIn preparation for the final Grimsby Author Series event of the 2016-17 season, I immersed myself in The Translation of Love during a long trip home from vacation in Myrtle Beach.  It is a beautiful novel set in Japan during the American post-WW2 occupation.  Despite the devastation and despair of the war, the characters care for each other and make a difference in each other’s lives through kindness.

Young Fumi thinks her sister, Sumiko, is missing.  Despite concerns from her parents, she had left home to work in a dance hall, sending home wages to support her family.  Her parents were concerned about this dishonourable job so instructed her to visit  when Fumi was at school to shield her.  With the help of Aya, a Japanese-Canadian girl, who has been repatriated to Japan from a Canadian internment camp, the girls write a letter to General MacArthur requesting assistance to find Sumiko.

The letter is intercepted by Matt, a translator who is a Japanese-American soldier.  He sees the girls in the melee of people waiting for a glimpse of the general and instead of translating the letter, he keeps the letter intending to try and help the young girl find her sister.  He is kind and means well but does little until the girls appear again.  He enlists the assistance of Nancy, a Japanese-American typist trying to get back to the US and they are unsuccessful in finding her sister.

As the young girls search for Sumiko, the readers are treated to more detail about Aya’s past and the tragic loss of her mother in the Canadian interment camp.  Life is not easy for her in Japan.  She does not speak Japanese as well as the other children and her father is busy working to support them.

Sumika, who is not really lost, has her own challenges and the stories all come together with good intentions, caring and love.  The story is intricately woven together with each character sharing their own stories within the novel.  It is heartbreaking at times, hopeful and shows how resilience and strength grow through adversity.

It is hard to believe that this is Lynne Kutsukake’s first novel.  It is expertly written weaving history and stories in a way that leaves the reader wanting to know more about the characters after the story ends.  It is a another part of history that I needed to learn about and I hope that there is a sequel pending!  I am looking forward to hearing more about the story and the author.  I am certain that this novel is full of hard work, research and dedication by Kutsukake who worked at the University of Toronto as a librarian and specialized in Japanese materials.

Tonight should be a evening celebrating a love of reading at the season’s finale of the Grimsby Author Series!

Posted in Author event, Canadian, Grimsby Author Series, Historical Fiction | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Charlie Lovett: The Moveable Feast Event

fullsizeoutput_7733
“The epigram sums up what the book is about, to save and preserve the past”

The weather was a bit cool but we enjoyed the Southern hospitality during our March Break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The kids still had fun on the beach, splashed in the pool, enjoyed some cousin time and I was lucky enough to meet Charlie Lovett.  He presented at the Moveable Feast luncheon, speaking about his new book, The Lost Book of the Grail.  This event is part of a wonderful weekly author series, hosted by Litchfield Books.  My husband is disappointed that the Greg Iles event is taking place after our vacation!

Charlie Lovett was introduced as a “professional book lover” who, through his fiction, “takes us into the dusty shelves of the library”.  The book had only been released for 2 weeks and he laughed that “a lot of you have something to look forward to” and that there would be more time inside reading due to the cool weather.  As a Lovett book newby, I know that I am looking forward to delving into these stories based around books, mystery and history!

Lovett described The Lost Book of the Grail as a “tricky book to talk about” since it is a “story Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 11.46.30 AMof a story” which is “very much about secrets” and “how a secret moves through time”.    It is a story of Arthur Prescott working to uncover the secret of a Cathedral and its’ connections to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  In an effort to avoid sharing secrets, he opted to discuss both setting and character with the group of approximately 80 individuals.

It is unique that Lovett decides on his setting and then develops the story.  The Lost Book of the Grail is set in Barchester, England which is a fictional city – yet a fictional city that already exists.  It was first described by Anthony Trollope and a spot of humour that I sadly missed, not knowing anything about Trollope, was that he commented that he had shared the first draft with the author – yet Barchester Towers was published in 1857 and the author has been dead since 1882!  He had read through all the Trollope books, describing it as a “wonderful experience on the science of addiction” and noted that the books kept getting longer and longer with the final tally of 3644 pages.  He took bits from these novels (such as character names) and like “tiny little easter eggs, scattered them throughout the text”.  The setting is mainly in 2016 with bits of the past interspersed and for readers knowledgeable on Trollope, this will be a real treat.

The working title was The Lost Manuscript and the book takes a fictional approach to some key moments in British History.  He shared that the first scene was based on one night – the Coventry Blitz when 4500 homes, the city centre and the medieval cathedral were destroyed.  He summed up this period of Britain as a time of great courage to bear up under the bombs (this is making me think of the novel Coventry where Canadian author Helen Humphreys contrasts rubble, death and destruction with the humanity and goodness of others who come together during tragedy and despair).  He told the group that readers could learn vast spans of history through this “quick, easy, dirty history class by reading the bits” in the novel.  While he found history classes in highschool “pretty boring” since nothing had much to do with him, he tries to “show how all this stuff affected ordinary people” and how they dealt with the fallout of these historic events.

As part of his research, Lovett was able to visit many cathedral libraries.  Generally, he had been kept away from the books, behind a rope.  He had been lucky to visit the Worcester Cathedral Library to be present in the atmosphere and inspire some of the books in the novel.  Lovett was able to visit Canterbury a week after the book was written and said that “stuff kept happening that was right out of the book” which kept he and his wife laughing.

He educated the audience about the gradual beginnings of libraries.  Monastaries might have started with one book but once they amassed enough books, they would be called libraries.  As the value of a book was appreciated, books were sometimes chained to shelves to protect them which protected them but made it difficult to save them in times of danger.

He began to talk about the characters including Arthur Prescott who was described as a 40 year old who was an interesting guy that “believes he was born in the wrong era”.  He attends multiple church services yet does not believe in God.  He is a junior lecturer at Barchester University who is perpetually writing a guide book on the Cathedral Library while doing secret research on the Holy Grail.  He has a collection of P.G. Wodehouse novels so Lovett feels that, like his last novel that led readers to Jane Austen, this one will drive people to read Wodehouse.

While Arthur seems to be stuck in the past he meets Bethany, an American with “breathless energy that comes in to this calm, serene, medieval space that Arthur has been living in”.  Her role is to digitize manuscripts which Arthur sees as a threat to the Cathedral Library  but he soon discovers her to be a fellow Grail enthusiast.  While Arthur sees the world like a museum,  “it is Bethany that teaches him that the world is alive”.  Lovett describes a “happy accident” in the book when Arthur first mistook Bethany for a statue before realizing she was a woman similar to his museum view of the world which ends up coming alive.

He admitted that some of the things that happen in the book had actually happened to him (although did not elaborate on which parts so we will have to use our imaginations).  He encouraged the audience to make sure to read the acknowledgement in the beginning of the book by Major Ronald Balfour, one of two monuments men killed in the line of duty during World War II.  He had been the Uncle of a friend who had been due to give a speech that he would never give which included:

“No age lives entirely alone; every civilization is formed not merely by its own achievements but by what it has inherited from the past.  If these things are destroyed, we have lost a part of our past, and we shall be the poorer for it” (Major Ronald Balfour).

It was interesting to learn that Lovett is currently working on a middle-grade book about 4 kids who find a magic library full of old books.  He is currently brainstorming his next adult book but did share that it is set in Yew York City around the turn of the 20th century. He is not only an author but a former antiquarian book seller, a book collector and he curated the Alice Alive! event celebrating Alice in Wonderland at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts at the Lincoln Centre.  He shares his time between Winston-Salem, NC and Kingham, Oxfordshire , in England.

The book discussion was followed by a lovely lunch and I was seated at the “new friends”
table where I met a lovely group of snowbirds who spend the winter in Myrtle Beach to escape the winter weather in the northern states.  The table talk was interesting and the dedication and love of reading was evident!  Vicki, the owner of Litchfield Books also sat at our table and I wish her well with her planning for a second bookstore!

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 11.13.59 AMWe were treated to salad and salmon quiche (chicken for me as I am not a salmon fan), iced tea and a coconut cream tart in phyllo pastry with whip cream and a strawberry garnish.  The location was a beautiful room, with a stunning view of the ocean, at the Grand Dunes Resort about fifteen minutes away from our condo.

Charlie Lovett was an engaging speaker.  He was funny, sharing jokes (even if the entire audience might have missed the one about sharing his manuscript with Trollope) and exuded his passion for books and history.  I am excited to have a copy of both The Lost Book of the Grail and The Bookman’s Tale on my to be read shelf and am looking forward to reading them both!  My plan had been to read them before the event, but as many of you are aware, it is Canada Reads season and I still have a couple books to finish before the debates start next week!

My thanks to Charlie Lovett for an inspiring presentation, to Litchfield Books for promoting great novels and to the “new friends” who I met who share a passion and love of reading!

Posted in Author event, Book signing, Historical Fiction, Meet the Author | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

22. Nostalgia (M.G. Vassanji)

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 9.51.33 PM“In our bid to outpace age and defy death, we leap from one life into another, be it imperfectly, and hope fervently – in the manner of acknowledged sinners – that the past does not catch up with us.  But sometimes it does…”

Canada Reads begins in 10 days and in preparation for the series of debates I have finished reading Nostalgia.  Set in future Toronto, this book describes the human challenge of fighting aging and death by rejuvenating themselves.  In this future setting, individuals  take on a new identities after erasing their initial lives and starting fresh with a fictional history, memories and new life.  It is a thought-provoking read but I would not vote for it being the “one book that Canadian’s need to read now”.

The main character is Dr. Frank Sina who is a memory specialist who helps individuals which experience ‘memory leaks’ from their previous lives.  He meets a new patient, Presley Smith, who struggles with emerging memories and for some unknown reason the doctor becomes attached to this patient.  As he ruminates on Presley’s memories, he begins to have flash backs of his own.

This book makes readers reflect on the human struggle to extend lives, cure diseases and fight death.  It examines the challenges that might occur should humans live longer, continue working and live amongst the young.  It discusses the discrepancy between different areas of the world and those who have and have not.

Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji is being defended by Jody Mitic, veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who stepped on a landmine and lost both of his legs below the knees. He later starred in The Amazing Race Canada and won a seat as a city councillor for Ottawa.

While I look forward to the debates, I struggled to stay focused on this book.  It was slow moving although it did make me ponder.  While Company Town describes a future life with controlling technology, Fifteen Dogs examines the lives of dogs with human-thought, The Right to Be Cold reviews the human impact on the Arctic and Nostalgia forms the tale of immortality.  These books share a theme of life changing by invention and progress.

Although science fiction is not my ‘go-to’ genre, this book did make me reflect on our death denying culture.  I can’t wait for the debates to begin and look forward to learning which book will become the one book all Canadian’s should read.

Posted in Canada Reads, Canadian, science fiction | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Loss of a Canadian Treasure: Richard Wagamese

“Some stories come in your blood.  They move beyond the telling or the showing and come to rest inside you.  Invade you.  Inhabit you.  Like there was a secret crevice in your being that it took the tale to fill.” (Ragged People, Richard Wagamese)

Canada has lost a national treasure.  Anyone who has been following my blog will know that I have been big fan of Richard Wagamese.  After devouring The Medicine Walk, I could not wait to read more of his work including Indian Horse and Ragged Company. He wrote beautiful fiction which will continue to enlighten readers and encourage them to think about important issues such as residential schools, the importance of family, homelessness and substance abuse.

He also wrote non-fiction including  One Native Life,  a series of vignettes which formed a  memoir of his life, giving insight into his challenging childhood and the life experiences which inspired such beautiful storytelling.  His birth family had been scarred by residential schools leading to alcoholism, abuse, abandonment and neglect (not to mention a badly shattered shoulder leaving his arm deformed prior to a surgical repair years later).  He was placed into foster care and then into an adopted family where he was also abused and left without a connection to his indigenous heritage.

He also wrote Embers:  One Ojibway’s Meditations.  Along with beautiful photography, Wagamese shares his own meditations and learnings from elders.  Intertwined with the art and words the reader will understand the author as he shares an intimate side of himself.

Richard Wagamaese had a way of quietly telling stories with lessons of understanding, acceptance and reconsidering judgment.  His books are amazing and his impact will live on.  I am thankful for his writing, for his bravery and for sharing bits of his own story with readers. He had a fluid, quiet gift of storytelling which makes a reader ponder his words long after closing the book.  Rest in peace Richard Wagamese.

Posted in Canadian, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

21. Milk and Honey (Rupi Kaur)

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.53.49 PMHere’s to International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity” (https://www.internationalwomensday.com)

You might ask, what am I reading on International Women’s Day?  As part of a CanadianContent Bingo challenge, I have finished Milk and Honey, a feminist book of poetry and drawings by Rupi Kaur.  Those of you that are followers will know that poetry is not my typical genre of choice and if I am honest, my poetry of late has been full of children’s poetry ranging from Dr. Suess to Shel Silverstein!

In the spirit of honouring women, I will share that this is a very personal collection of poems which are divided into sections of:  the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing.  At times, her poem and prose are raw, visual and personal sharing insight into relationships of both pain and love.  At times, her writing is uncomfortable and fairly explicit, focusing on abuse and disrespect of women.

The author is originally from India but moved to Toronto as a girl.  It is interesting to note that Milk and Honey was originally self-published before being accepted by a publisher 4 months later and being re-released.

I think it is fabulous that we have the freedom to write intimate feelings and share what our thoughts through poetry.  We have the freedom to read, and the freedom to choose what we read.  Although this is not necessarily a book that I would read again , I applaud this young author for her honesty, creativity and for the intimacy of her writing!

As a side note, the other book that I am reading which is relevant to International Women’s Day is The Right to Be Cold, which is a memoir of a strong woman from the Arctic striving to protect and nurture her community.  This is one of the 5 books being defended for Canada Reads.

Posted in Canadian | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

20. Company Town (Madeline Ashby)

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-6-31-55-pm

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-12-40-19-pmAs the 2017 Canada Reads debates approach, I will be reading all 5 books.  Company Town, by Madeline Ashby,  was the first of the contenders and being honest, if it were not for the debates, this would not typically be the kind of book that I would pick up.  This book is difficult to categorize yet has aspects of science fiction and dystopia.  It is set in a future time, off the shores of the Canadian maritime, on an oil rig.  It may not be my typical novel but it should spark terrific discussion at the debates!

Hwa is a bodyguard.  She is organic (meaning that her body has not been biologically enhanced).  She is natural.  She is strong.  She is a fighter yet she is emotionally damaged.  She grieved over the loss of her beloved brother.  She struggled with the relationship with   her mother, a prostitute who looked after herself and had not been a warm and loving role model.

She is hired by the powerful Lynch family to keep the youngest son, Joel safe.  He had  received death threats so she begins to attends school with Joel.  As she protects him and teaches him self-defence they form a bond and have to keep one step ahead of the possibility of death.  At the same time, there are a series of murders.  Each murder impacts Hwa as the victims are her friends who come to tragic, violent ends.

Hwa must determine who to trust and decide who to protect and save while putting her own safety and biologic uniqueness at risk.

This is a very unique novel and led me to investigate company towns which PBS defines as:

“remote locations such as railroad construction sites, lumber camps, turpentine camps, or coal mines, jobs often existed far from established towns. As a pragmatic solution, the employer sometimes developed a company town, where an individual company owned all the buildings and businesses.

In some situations, company towns developed out of a paternalistic effort to create a utopian worker’s village. “

It is interesting to consider a company town as a future alternative to communities.  The reader can imagine how inhabitants could be controlled and at the mercy of a company that meets all their needs.

Is this the one book that Canada needs to read?  In my opinion, no, but it is a book that forces the reader to consider the future.  We are so connected via technology with our phones, our fit bits, our computers and virtual reality that this type of control is not outside the realm of possibility.  Medically, transplantations occur, tissue is grown in laboratories and our DNA can be tested, mapped and modified.  Sheep have been cloned.  Medications and treatments are diligently invented to extend lives through both cure and palliation.

Canadians should read this book and think of the future.  Canadians should reflect and consider how quickly technology is evolving and the lasting impacts of inventions and progress.  While this may not be the one book that all Canadians need to read, I do recommend this novel and think it would lead to great book club discussion or amazing debates in a high school classroom.

Posted in Canada Reads, Canadian, science fiction | Tagged , , | 6 Comments