Summer Gone arrived in a bag of books which were donated to our Little Free Library. (thanks Mike!) As I rifled through the books, Summer Gone stood out and I decided to read it before placing it into the library. This novel, written by a Hamilton author, tells the story of fathers and sons, Canadian summers and a peaceful landscape that Canadian readers will appreciate.
The story is full of regret, loss and yearning for a perfect summer and a better life. It shares tales about the awkward relationships between the fathers and sons in the novel. The main character, Bay, continues to hope for a closer relationship with his own son along with the perfect summer. He researches and prepares for their wilderness trip but is unsure how to improve the relationship with his son. He reflects back on his own family dynamics and how his own father was always waiting for a better opportunity and a better life.
Bay thinks back to his year at summer camp when he learned to love the Northern wilderness and learned to appreciate the art of canoeing. The story is told as he and his son, Caz set out on a father-son canoe trip with the intent of sharing his history, teaching is son about canoeing and enjoying time together as they slowly paddled through the wilderness.
Although I enjoyed the overall story, I did struggle with the writing style. I am not sure that I have ever read such circuitous prose. The sentences, paragraphs and chapters would begin talking about one train of thought in a certain time period and transition to another story or era coming back to the original topic paragraphs, pages or chapters later. This made the novel a bit confusing at times although overall, it was an enjoyable summer read. The story requires the reader to really pay attention and at times, I wished that the writer would just “spit it out” instead of gently hinting at the story outcomes.