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Book Remarks


I truly confess that I am not a dog person.

I’ll explain, after a fashion.

When I was a callow young man, foolish enough to think my presence on this planet might influence the course of history, I was incapable of understanding how my grandfather, sitting in his armchair, could nod off while still holding the book he was reading, snooze for five or ten minutes, then roust up and — without missing a line — continuing reading from where he’d left off when his chin had hit his shirt pocket.

Now I’ve become my grandfather.

And I’ve learned this: a good book is one that keeps the reader eager — despite an occasional mid-chapter, mildly interruptive, nap — to find out what happens next.

Provider’s Son [Killick Press] is a good book.

I read it in one sitting, so to speak, hove off in my Lay-Z-Boy. I started at dawn, read for an hour and nodded off with the book spread on my chest like a butterfly badge — or so Missus told me. After ten minutes I woke up and read three or four more chapters.

Quick snooze.

More chapters.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sawing wood.

Eyes open. Pages turning.

I finished reading before Missus offered me afternoon Tip Tops and tea.

I loved every line and through a mouthful of buttered Tip Tops said to Missus, “That young feller Stringer from over in Clarn’ville has written a jim-dandy yarn. One you can bite off and chew meaty pieces of. Sorta like eating blueberry grunt with scatter whole berries bursting with flavour in your chops.”

“He anything to Hubert Stringer?” Missus wondered.

“I don’t know,” I said. “He was born in Little Heart’sies but lived in Clarn’ville. Now he works in Alberta.”

Provider’s Son is the story of Levi Conley, an outport Newfoundlander who has fallen on hard times. His brothers have done him dirty; his wife leaves him for a man she met on the Internet; he’s subject to panic attacks; and he drinks a bit.

In an attempt to haul up his bootstraps — or whatever the saying it — he applies for work in Alberta and gets a job as an apprentice welder with Erbacor Energy where his daughter Sinead is already employed.

Levi is a man with whom you mostly sympathize; a fellow you sometimes feel like giving a commiserating pat on the shoulder. Other times, you feel like giving him a boot in the arse for being so stund.

The night before the test, even though he knows if alcohol is found in his urine he will not be hired for an Alberta project, Levi goes on the beer.

We’d never be that stund, eh b’ys?

Now here’s one of those plump tart berries in the blueberry grunt — kinda.

Outside the in-a-house clinic while waiting his turn for the urine test, Levi meets an old friend who he persuades to whizz in a zip-loc baggie, then uses the baggie’s contents to pass the test.

On second thought, maybe this isn’t a meaty detail you’d like to chew on. But you must admit, if you awoke from an armchair snooze and read this scene you’d have to give a “Yes, b’y!?” at least.

This is the same man who years ago, when his daughter was born, walked into the delivery room and “discovered unconditional love.”

More than one side to a human, eh b’ys?

Regarding working in the Albert tar sands.

Levi discovers that it isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

The money is good but life in the camps is rough. There’s booze and drugs; porn and prostitution.

Levi’s alcoholism doesn’t serve him well, to say the least.

One thing is Levi’s salvation. He’s a bugger for making rocking chairs. He buddies up with Sinead’s boyfriend Jon Smith and…

…you can read all about their enterprise between naps.

I’ve dug no deeper into Lee Stringer’s commendable novel then the first excavators to scrape the sod off Northern Alberta’s topsoil dug into the depths of the tar sands. But trust me; digging into Provider’s Son will enrich your soul more than a stint at the tar sands.

Easy for me to say, eh b’ys?

One last thing. Many of us have kin working out in Alberta. Sure, there’s a cousin of mine who makes a couple of cameo appearances in Lee Stringer’s novel — Will Walters, a singer attempting a comeback.

Thank you for reading.

 

Harold Walters lives Happily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Canadian province with its own time zone. How cool is that?

Reach him at ghwalters663@gmail.com

I’ll explain, after a fashion.

When I was a callow young man, foolish enough to think my presence on this planet might influence the course of history, I was incapable of understanding how my grandfather, sitting in his armchair, could nod off while still holding the book he was reading, snooze for five or ten minutes, then roust up and — without missing a line — continuing reading from where he’d left off when his chin had hit his shirt pocket.

Now I’ve become my grandfather.

And I’ve learned this: a good book is one that keeps the reader eager — despite an occasional mid-chapter, mildly interruptive, nap — to find out what happens next.

Provider’s Son [Killick Press] is a good book.

I read it in one sitting, so to speak, hove off in my Lay-Z-Boy. I started at dawn, read for an hour and nodded off with the book spread on my chest like a butterfly badge — or so Missus told me. After ten minutes I woke up and read three or four more chapters.

Quick snooze.

More chapters.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sawing wood.

Eyes open. Pages turning.

I finished reading before Missus offered me afternoon Tip Tops and tea.

I loved every line and through a mouthful of buttered Tip Tops said to Missus, “That young feller Stringer from over in Clarn’ville has written a jim-dandy yarn. One you can bite off and chew meaty pieces of. Sorta like eating blueberry grunt with scatter whole berries bursting with flavour in your chops.”

“He anything to Hubert Stringer?” Missus wondered.

“I don’t know,” I said. “He was born in Little Heart’sies but lived in Clarn’ville. Now he works in Alberta.”

Provider’s Son is the story of Levi Conley, an outport Newfoundlander who has fallen on hard times. His brothers have done him dirty; his wife leaves him for a man she met on the Internet; he’s subject to panic attacks; and he drinks a bit.

In an attempt to haul up his bootstraps — or whatever the saying it — he applies for work in Alberta and gets a job as an apprentice welder with Erbacor Energy where his daughter Sinead is already employed.

Levi is a man with whom you mostly sympathize; a fellow you sometimes feel like giving a commiserating pat on the shoulder. Other times, you feel like giving him a boot in the arse for being so stund.

The night before the test, even though he knows if alcohol is found in his urine he will not be hired for an Alberta project, Levi goes on the beer.

We’d never be that stund, eh b’ys?

Now here’s one of those plump tart berries in the blueberry grunt — kinda.

Outside the in-a-house clinic while waiting his turn for the urine test, Levi meets an old friend who he persuades to whizz in a zip-loc baggie, then uses the baggie’s contents to pass the test.

On second thought, maybe this isn’t a meaty detail you’d like to chew on. But you must admit, if you awoke from an armchair snooze and read this scene you’d have to give a “Yes, b’y!?” at least.

This is the same man who years ago, when his daughter was born, walked into the delivery room and “discovered unconditional love.”

More than one side to a human, eh b’ys?

Regarding working in the Albert tar sands.

Levi discovers that it isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

The money is good but life in the camps is rough. There’s booze and drugs; porn and prostitution.

Levi’s alcoholism doesn’t serve him well, to say the least.

One thing is Levi’s salvation. He’s a bugger for making rocking chairs. He buddies up with Sinead’s boyfriend Jon Smith and…

…you can read all about their enterprise between naps.

I’ve dug no deeper into Lee Stringer’s commendable novel then the first excavators to scrape the sod off Northern Alberta’s topsoil dug into the depths of the tar sands. But trust me; digging into Provider’s Son will enrich your soul more than a stint at the tar sands.

Easy for me to say, eh b’ys?

One last thing. Many of us have kin working out in Alberta. Sure, there’s a cousin of mine who makes a couple of cameo appearances in Lee Stringer’s novel — Will Walters, a singer attempting a comeback.

Thank you for reading.

 

Harold Walters lives Happily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Canadian province with its own time zone. How cool is that?

Reach him at ghwalters663@gmail.com

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