Consolation: A Novel
1 journaler for this copy...
I am generally not a great fan of historical fiction but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I suspect that if I lived in or had even visited Toronto I would find it even more fascinating.
The novel is comprised of two parallel stories, one taking place in the 1850's and one currently. In the 1850's an English pharmacist, Gem Hallam, comes to Canada and takes over a pharmaceutical practice at which he fails miserably. He's introduced by one of his customers to photography and to the photographer's model whom he befriends. The three of them individually are having a hard time trying to make it in the cold city of Toronto but they ultimately join forces to make a living in the photography business. One of the things they do in addition to the usual portrait work is to photograph every inch of the city. Gem is then selected to take this photographic study to England to promote Toronto for designation as the country's capital.
In the 1990's forensic geologist/professor David Hollis claims that a ship is buried under downtown Toronto in a spot that is to be excavated for a new arena, a ship that contains the photographic history of the city as it was in the 1850's. His assertion is ridiculed by his colleagues.
David Hollis, suffering from ALS, commits suicide leaving behind his wife Marianne, his daughter Bridget and his future son-in-law John whom he loves, to pick up the pieces. Marianne determined to prove her husband right, takes a hotel room overlooking the evacuation site. Bridget seems not to understand Marianne's need to do this. John does and he tries to help Marianne, but without his future wife's knowledge.
The 1850's story of Gem Hallam was truly fascinating; the characters, their relationships and conversations struck me as utterly authentic. I liked these three friends and cared what happened to them
John, Marianne and Bridget were less likable (the women in particular) and their relationships with each other seemed cold and tenuous. Nevertheless there were some delightful moments of intimacy and the novel's ending had me in tears.
This is my third book by a male Canadian author (and ninth overall) read for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?
It will be released into the wild at some point. I'm just not sure when or where as yet.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
This book was released for the 2010 Canada Day release challenge (running June 25 - July 4) in celebration of Canadian books and authors.
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I hope that you enjoy this book by a Canadian author. Happy Canada Day on the 1st!