October

October

A Novel

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
5
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A new novel that Richard B. Wright's Clara Callan fans will adore, October effortlessly weaves a haunting coming-of-age story set in World War II Quebec with a contemporary portrait of a man still searching for answers in the autumn of his life.

In England to see his daughter, Susan, who is gravely ill, James Hillyer, a retired professor of Victorian literature, encounters by chance a man he once knew as a boy. Gabriel Fontaine, a rich and attractive American he met one summer during the war, when he was sent on a holiday to the Gaspé, is a mercurial figure, badly crippled by polio. A s an adolescent, James was both attracted to and repelled by Gabriel's cocksure attitude and charm. He also fell hopelessly in love with Odette, a French- Canadian girl from the village, only to find himself in competition with the careless Gabriel. Now, at this random meeting over six decades later--as he struggles with the terrible possibility that he could outlive his own daughter--James is asked by Gabriel to accompany him on a final, unthinkable journey. A t last, James begins to see that all beginnings and endings are inexorably linked.

A classic Richard B. Wright novel, defined by superb storytelling, subtle, spare writing and characters who travel psychological territory as familiar--and uncharted--as our own, October is an extraordinary meditation on mortality, childhood and memory.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Publishers, c2007
ISBN: 9780002006897
0002006898
Branch Call Number: FIC WRI
Characteristics: 241 p. ; 24 cm

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brianreynolds Apr 20, 2017

A well-read, very astute friend has an unusual proclivity of reading the last chapter first. While the obvious downside of knowing whether to invest too heavily in the first paragraph is, well yes, “Spoiler Alert!” it worked out well for me in accidentally reading Nightfall before I devoured October. In fact, I wish Wright had written both (short and shorter) in the same dust jacket. Perhaps with a semi-colon between them: one a brooding comedy; the other a quiet irony. The truth is, I’m afraid I would have rated this one much lower, I think, if it had been simply a very well-written paean to loss and death and regret. But there it was: bottom of the ninth, the home team down three runs with the opposing closer never having blown a save all season. I would have been down the aisle and out of the stadium. Only to discover on the car radio during the drive home the big comeback and a walk off grand slam. If only I had known, I would have stayed to the end. Taken together, these two novels put a smile on my face. James, Odette, and Gabriel. They spoke to me.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 17, 2013

One of Canada’s best writers brings us another well-crafted, understated and moving story of real people living ordinary but extraordinary lives. Here he looks carefully and respectfully at death, memory and love. An almost soothing read and not as depressing as it sounds.

p
Pisinga
Oct 12, 2011

A remarkable book, written in simple language, without unnecessary frills and pretensions.
About love, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, selfishness and the fact that in spite of all human aspirations, desires, poverty or wealth, all come to one thing - the realization of our mortality.

i
Isobee
Nov 19, 2010

In the autumn of his life......

c
Cabby
Sep 05, 2008

Recommended by Costco.

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