Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Massey Murder- One Book, One Community

 2014 One Book One Community

   Charlotte Gray is a wonderful author. I greatly appreciate her writing style.  She is very organized and her sentences are beautifully written.  She does amazing amounts of research for her books and you can learn a great deal.
  This book is physically beautiful: the design of the cover, the quality of the pages, as well as the maps and charts - everything you could desire.
  But this book is so much more than the Massey murder. In order to understand the trial, you need to recognize how the young Dominion of Canada was reacting to the war in 1915.  Charlotte braided into the courtroom speeches the ideals of the war and Canada's involvement.  Brilliant writing!  And those speeches affected the outcome of the trial.
  Beyond that, the novel explores every inch of early 20th century Toronto- the families, the clubs, the streets, the buildings, the businesses, etc.  She is very thorough in her description, which may be delightful to read for those with an interest in Toronto.  But it may be overdone for those readers who were just interested in the murder story.
  I find an interesting comparison to "In the Skin of A Lion" by Michael Ondaatje, who also wrote about Toronto - more into the 1930's.  Michael focussed on the immigrants whose labour built the city, while Charlotte paints a picture of the upper class who ran the city.  There is a great contrast in the structure of the two novels.  Michael's novel is described as 'post-modern' because he uses many voices and moves and changes focus throughout.  But the two stories both have much to say about the early days of Toronto.
Charlotte Gray will be appearing in Kitchener , Waterloo, Cambridge and Elmira
 September 16, 17, 18.

Tuesday, September 16 – 7:00pm – Central Library, 85 Queen Street North, Kitchener
Wednesday, September 17 – 1:30pm – Elmira District Secondary School, 4 University Avenue, Elmira (the general public is welcome to attend this event!)
Wednesday, September 17 – 7:00pm – Knox Church, 50 Erb Street West, Waterloo
Thursday, September 18 – 7:00pm – Cambridge City Hall (Bowman Room), 50 Dickson Street, Cambridge
   I love O.B.O.C. and have been very involved since it started.  I love the concept and I have enjoyed many of the books.  I appreciate the variety in the choices, but it means that not every book is going to appeal to every reader in the area. My least favourite was the "100 Mile Diet".  It was likely very interesting to some people, but a book about food (lots of obscure food) did not interest me.
  The initial launch of this program was exciting and I loved the first choice.  I have wonderful memories of both the author and the book that first year.
  I am grateful to have been introduced to both Robert Sawyer and Richard Wagamese- two authors that I did not know, but whose books I love.  "The Book of Negros" was also a fabulous choice and it remains a favourite.
  Every year I eagerly await the announcement.
 The book is always discussed in one or more of my book clubs.

One Book One Community
2002   No Great Mischief  (Alistair MacLeod)
2003   The Stone Carvers (Jane Urquhart)
2004   Lives of the Saints  (Nino Ricci)
2005   Hominids (Robert Sawyer)
2006   Three Day Road (Joseph Boyden)
2007   Smoke (Elizabeth Ruth)
2008   100 Mile Diet (Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon)
2009   The Book of Negros (Lawrence Hill)
2010   Best Laid Plans (Terri Fallis)
2011   Bury Your Dead (Louise Penney)
2012   Lakeland (Allan Casey)
2013   Ragged Company  (Richard Wagamese)
2014   The Massey Murder  (Charlotte Gray)

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