...Wanting to read more Canadian books I saw this one recommended on Salt and Light TV. "Mercy among the Children" by David Adams Richards. It's the story of a New Brunswick small town in the seventies and eighties, and of a poor family that becomes the community scapegoat for everything that goes wrong there. The grandfather, Roy, is found guilty of setting fire to the local mill (he was found drunk at the scene of the crime), and the story is told years later by the grandson, Lyle, to the ex policeman whose car the grandfather happened to stumble into, to sleep, on the night of the crime. The father, Roy, basically a very good man, well read but not schooled, had made a promise to God that he would never try to defend himself again when he almost accidentally killed a schoolmate. Years later when he and his wife are unjustly accused of crimes he keeps his promise and the family is plunged into a nightmare of poverty, accusations and threats from almost the whole town, including the ones responsible. There are few redeeming features in the book, but it is very well written and a real page turner. The author probes the motives and actions of all the characters and you are kept in suspense wondering what can happen next and how will it all turn out, gripping is the word I would use to describe it. Richards has written other books and eventually I will read more of him but "Mercy...." will last me for a while.
Two favourite quotes:
"Those who lift a hand against you do so against themselves." Roy
"For the river was hurrying on, like the world, and had no time to stop to reflect on the greater ideas of where it was going." David Adams Richards