by Kenneth J. Harvey | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 067931427x Global Overview for this book
Registered by Pooker3 of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 2/20/2009
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Journal Entry 1 by Pooker3 from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, February 20, 2009
Ooh, on sale at Chapters. Couldn't resist.

Journal Entry 2 by Pooker3 from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, March 6, 2009
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I was skeptical when I started though. The cover blurbs, such as "A writer like no other." by Alistair MacLeod and "Classic Harvey. No one else can write like this." by Bill Gaston could mean something less than wonderful. But I figured Alister MacLeod wouldn't steer me wrong.

In fact I was captivated by the first paragraph:

"They had made a mistake. They had realized. Everything he had moved through. The trail behind him. The institutional walls that kept him. The day in and day out. The tangle of men. It was meant to go away."

Of course you can't help but notice the short sentences - fragments sometimes. Very effective opening I thought but I did expect the style to be abandoned along the way. It wasn't. It continued in that choppy way throughout. Strangely I never grew tired of it. It kept me inside the mind of Mr. Myrden, who at the beginning of the book is just being released from prison, after 14 years, apparently having been wrongly accused.

I found it interesting to compare Myrden's situation with that of Thomas Sophonow who was also fairly recently released after having been wrongfully convicted. Coincidentally, as I was reading this book, there was a piece in the Winnipeg Free Press by Gordon Sinclair Jr. who recently visited Sophonow at the home he is renovating in BC. Sophonow says the house has ghosts. I imagine Sophonow and Myrden have plenty of ghosts. Sophonow has a wife who loves him and other supports, the money to do with his life what he would like. I saw hope in Sinclair's story (as I think he meant me to) that Sophonow's life would get better, that he would heal, that the ghosts would leave.

Although Myrden too gets a big monetary settlement, you know his life is not going to get better and that he is doomed. He returns to his hometown, to a wife that appears to be living with someone else but is nevertheless eager to reap the monetary benefits she expects as Myrden's wife she's entitled. He's estranged from his children, although we are not sure why. His "friends", except for Randy, are no friends at all, they are all losers and it seems were responsible for putting him in jail in the first place. Randy, despite laudable loyalty to Myrden is a loser too and ends up going to jail mid-story.

It's a sad story - a depressing one - because while you know Myrden is doomed you want to wish it could be otherwise. I say want to wish, because you're never really sure about Myrden - he's got ghosts that he doesn't really tell you about. But you do see that he has a good heart, potential for goodness. He loves his granddaughter unquestionably and does his best to provide for her and his daughter to ensure their future and safety. Unfortunately his daughter has an abusive husband from whom no amount of money will protect her.

I loved the book but was still left with some niggling questions about Myrden. For one thing, I kept expecting to learn that Myrden did do the crime for which he was charged. I still don't know whether he did it and am irked at the author for leaving that unanswered.

But this introduction to Harvey was a good one and I mean to pick up Blackstrap Hawco as soon as I can.

In the meantime, this was my 18th book read by a male author for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh? Soon to be released to a street corner near you.

Journal Entry 3 by Pooker3 at Delta Hotel - 350 St. Mary in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Released 14 yrs ago (3/31/2009 UTC) at Delta Hotel - 350 St. Mary in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada



I spoke to some folks from Roseau River First Nation today. They'd been evacuated and were staying at the Delta Hotel. While the rooms and food were great, there was not much to do. They said they'd welcome some books. So I took a few over, this one included, and left them downstairs at the hospitality suite. I hope this book helps someone while away a few hours.

Edited to add that as this book's author's name starts with a "K", I'm releasing it for week 13 of the Never Judge a Book by its Cover release challenge (theme: authors with the initials D, M, or K).


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