Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Canadian Fiction

Finished June 10
October by Richard B Wright
James Hillyer is a retired professor of Victorian literature, living on his own in Toronto. His wife died of cancer some years ago, and his daughter Susan has just been diagnosed with a similar disease. Susan is headmistress of a boarding school in England, a job she has aspired to all her working life. James visits her to touch base following news of her illness, and afterwards in London he meets a man he hasn't seen in sixty years.
Back in 1944, James spent a summer in rural Quebec with his uncle and spent some of his days with a young American Gabriel Fontaine who was a victim of polio. It is Gabriel that he meets again in London and who requests James to go with him on a trip.
The story goes back and forth between the present and the summer of 1944, and causes James to look at his own character and attitudes both past and present as well as those of others. There is also a theme of illness and mortality running through the novel that provides a key element to the story.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

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