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Whistler Reads: DELOUME ROAD

abstract:NEW VENUE INFO. The next Whistler Reads discussion takes place this summer on July 10th from 5:00-6:15 pm at the Whistler Public Library community room. Admission is free with donations accepted at the door. We'll be heading down the village stroll directly after to reserved patio tables at a restaurant location for a lovely 3-course dinner to take advantage of two Whistler "greats: great food and great conversation. Enjoy cocktails and wine, fine dining and laughter as we carry on the festivities into the summer evening and watch the alpenglow over the mountain tops. (Cost is your bar bill added to price fix menu of two choices over a three course meal.)

There's still time to purchase your copy of Deloume Road published by Knopf Canada. This is our 30th book selection and you're going to love it. It is written by first-time Vancouver Island author, Matthew Hooton. Matthew was named one of Canada's new literary talents to watch. Matthew's prose captures the Pacific Northwest in a style reminiscent of other favorite regional authors whose work shows a reverence for and understanding of the natural physical world; I'm thinking John Vaillant (The Golden Spruce), Steve Gutterson (Snow Falling on Cedars), with a bit of W.O. Mitchell thrown in for good measure. What these authors share is an understanding of place and an understanding of character all wrapped up in a compelling, suspenseful read. They combine the immigrant and native perspective as it intersects the relationships between men and within nature. You will recall Vaillant's book dealt with the mystery surrounding the eco-terrorism of the golden spruce giant destroyed in the Queen Charlottes, and Gutterson's novel was set on a small Gulf Island community of Nordic and Japanese immigrants at conflict over a murder trial. Matthew's novel takes place on Vancouver Island on the titular rural road and it involves several families, acclimated, immigrant and native whose lives intersect with escalating levels of suspense and mystery one hot summer.

article:

May 02, 2010

About the Author

Matthew Hooton grew up on Vancouver Island and obtained his BA in writing from the University of Victoria. He obtained his MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University where Deloume Road was unanimously awarded the inaugural Greene & Heaton Prize for the best novel to emerge from the Bath Spa MA in Creative Writing. He has read fiction at the Bath Literature Festival and has worked as an editor and teacher in South Korea. He now lives with his wife in Victoria, BC. —Knopf

Excerpt from the first chapter: The Road

Just over the Malahat pass with the old Bamberton cement works behind you on Highway 1 heading north on Vancouver Island, take a left onto Shawnigan Mill Bay Road. Pass dairy farms, orchards and a cidery; each isolated along the road, as if dropped into massive and seemingly timeless clearings from the sky—no hint that this land was painstakingly carved out of forest by hand, horse and dynamite nearly a century ago. There aren't any towns here, and few businesses to speak of, only roads sparsely littered with houses and the occassional farm shop, all of it a wilderness suburb of the small town of Mill Bay. Five miles or so of this, then on your left Deloume Road begins at the top of the hill.

The rest of the chapters are titled by the names of the character whose turn it is to lead the reader through the story. Matthew, Andy, Josh; then Al Henry, Irene, the Butcher, Miles Ford, Sam Toews and Avril. It's as though Hooton has taken each character arc and written them on a separate paper and then torn all the papers up into bits and then pieced the linear story of Deloume Road together with top bits and then middle bits and then end bits of each character arc. In the parts of the story where the characters appear together, he even switches from one perspective to the other in successive chapters within the same "scene", carrying the plot along from within this shift in point of view. It's as though the reader were looking at a single cut gem stone with each character arc represented in one glinting facet or another that when held up to the light at various angles allows the viewer to behold the entire story by gazing upon the single stone. The result of this technique is to create within the reader a tension where we know something ominous is about to happen, but we don't know which character the shadow will be cast upon. Will it be the tragic loss of Al Henry's son in the bush plane crash, or the unborn baby of the widowed Korean immigrant Irene? Or will it be the mistaken intensions of the butcher and young Miles Ford? Or will something happen to the close relationship between the boys themselves? Something is going to happen on Deloume Road.

The Interview

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  • PART I: Matthew Does a short reading and introduces the characters of his book
  • and then speaks about his writing style and technique and experience abroad

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