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Believing he may have accidentally killed a friend, Sydney Henderson makes a pact with God. If God will spare the boy’s life, Sydney will never again harm another human being.
In the years that follow, the self-educated, brilliant and now almost pathologically gentle Sydney holds true to his promise. Yet others in the small rural community in New Brunswick view Sydney’s pacifism as an opportunity to exploit and torment the defenseless Hendersons. Tragedy strikes when a small boy dies as a result of an act of sabotage and revenge gone horribly wrong. It is a death for which Sydney is blamed. Guilty only of being different, Sydney refuses to defend himself and his family. Raised on the books his father has long collected, Sydney’s son Lyle shares a deep respect for the power of words. But when he is forced to watch his family ridiculed and attacked, Lyle turns his back on God and literature, and adopts an aggressive strategy for…[more]
David Adams Richards’ Governor General’s Award-winning novel is a powerful tale of resignation and struggle, fierce loyalties and compassion. This book is the first in Richards’ acclaimed Miramichi trilogy. Set in a small mill town in northern New Brunswick, it draws us into the lives of a community of people who live there, including: Joe Walsh, isolated and strong in the face of a drinking problem; his wife, Rita, willing to believe the best about people; and their teenage daughter Adele, whose nature is rebellious and wise, and whose love for her father wars with her desire for independence. Richards’ unforgettable characters are linked together in conflict, and in articulate love and understanding. Their plight as human beings is one we share.
For twenty years, Alex Chapman—a worn out academic and failed priest—has been at war with his great-uncle James, a man known in his small-town community as “The Tyrant.“ Embittered and disillusioned, Alex believes that James is responsible for his harsh childhood, for the loss of his one true love, and ultimately, for the unfortunate direction his life has taken. So when Alex runs into the slow-witted local auto mechanic who claims he has just given James Chapman a winning lottery ticket worth thirteen million dollars, Alex sees his chance for revenge and plots to steal the ticket away from his aging uncle.
Thus begins an emotionally shattering story of a family’s deep-seated grudges and dangerous passions, all set around a lonely, country road where rival provinces have converged for years. A chilling exploration of what happens when our moral questions become matters of life and death, The Lost Highway is a page-turning tale of small-town jealousy and corruption.
A suspenseful and moving novel which has at its centre one of Richards’ most memorable and haunting characters. It is the fall of 1989 in a small Miramichi mill town. Jerry Bines is acquitted of murder and returns home to his estranged wife and young son, with hopes for a new beginning. But when he learns that Gary Percy Rils has escaped from prison, he has good reason to fear for his own safety and that of others. In his attempts to protect his family from Rils by taking him under his wing, Bines sets in motion a series of events that ultimately leads to tragedy. The story of what happens unfolds piece by piece, as related by police reports, interviews, and by a man to a boy. Vivid in its sense of place, this penetrating chronicle of lives is both dark and redemptive, devastating and comic. This novel was made into a Gemini Award-winning film of the same name.