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Quarrington, Paul.

Toronto, Doubleday, c1985. 288pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-385-25004-5. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Jerry McDonnell

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

Paul Quarrington has created a real menagerie of characters. Paul, the hero or biographer, Jonathan Whitecrow, the Indian with the Oxford accent, Bernie, who has a talking stomach, and Ol' Moss-back, the monstrous and ancient fish that also talks. This is to say nothing of the nineteenth-century characters who also inhabit the book and do much to explain the people of 1983. Paul has fled Toronto and his wife for the quiet sanctuary of Hope, Ontario, where he is planning to work on his novel in a farmhouse retreat lent to him by a professor friend. He is, however, tempted to explore the bars of the town and in the "Willing Mind" he makes friends and becomes interested in the history of the community, a history that turns out to be quite bizarre. Hope was named after the founder and leader of the Perfectionist sect, who led his followers from the United States to Upper Canada after his licentiousness made a move advisable. The same trait would lead him into even more serious trouble later. In researching the history/ biography, Paul realizes that there are many parallels between the present-day residents and their ancestors. The connections are, in fact, so strong that it is never quite clear where the past leaves off and the present begins. In addition, there are such phenomena as Louis the giant, who exists beyond time and space, but who must be subdued.

Readers familiar with Quarrington's earlier novel, Home Game* will realize that the new story is sometimes merely bizarre and at other times quite grotesque, but it all serves to make the novel more gripping and successful. This is a major talent at work. The book is recommended for adults and senior students who are not necessarily tied totally to realistic writing.

Jerry McDonnell, F.E. Madill S.S., Wingham, Ont.

*Reviewew vol. XI/5 September 1983 p.203.

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