This eclectic, funny, and moving book tracks a life lived in music and words. Paul Quarrington ruminates on the bands of his childhood; his restless youth, spent playing bass with the cult band Joe Hall and the Continental Drift; and his incarnation, in middle age, as rhythm guitarist and singer with the band Porkbelly Futures.Ranging through rock 'n' roll, the blues, folk, country and soul, he explores how songs are made, how they work, and why they affect us so deeply. This is also a book about friendship. In his imitably entertaining way, Quarrington recounts the adventures and vicissitudes he and his fellow band members share as they cope with everything from broken strings to broken marriages, making a last stab at that elusive thing called success.
Received with almost unanimous accolades from critics and readers alike,Civilizationis the amazing tale of Thom Moss, a young man who sets out in the early twentieth century in search of a grand adventure. He soon finds himself in the thick of Hollywoodland, employed as an actor by the renowned Caspar Willison, master of the two-reel cowboy flicker. However, Thom's fortune quickly takes a ruinous turn and he lands in the Penitentiary, where he writes the story of his downfall. At once hilarious and courageous, Civilization is a daring work by one of Canada's finest novelists.
As he braves rills, rivers, and ocean waters in search of his elusive quarry, Paul Quarrington's casts are as likely to call up thoughts of his troubled marriage, his father's death, or one of midlife's existential questions as they are to yield a fish, big or small. But whatever his trials and triumphs, he is never without his wickedly perverse sense of humor. Whether you're a dedicated river wader or an armchair angler, you'll find him an irresistible companion.
Nathanael "Crybaby" Isbister was once the greatest baseball player in the world, but now he's a down-on-his-luck drifter on the road to oblivion. That is until he wanders into a circus sideshow troupe stranded in a tiny Michigan town dominated by a hellfire-and brimstone religious sect. The sect vows to drive the troupe out, but give them one unlikely chance to remain--the baseball game to end all baseball games. A funny, moving novel,Home Gamewalks the straight but delicate line between absurdity and compassion with dazzling style and expertise.
Selected as the 2008 Canada Read's Winner! "A dazzling display of fictional footwork. . . The author has not written just another hockey novel; he has turned hockey in a metaphor for magic. "Maclean's Percival Leary was once the King of the Ice, one of hockey's greatest heroes. Now, in the South Grouse Nursing Home, where he shares a room with Edmund "Blue" Hermann, the antagonistic and alcoholic reporter who once chronicled his career, Leary looks back on his tumultuous life and times: his days at the boys' reformatory when he burned down a house; the four mad monks who first taught him to play hockey; and the time he executed the perfect "St. Louis Whirlygig" to score the winning goal in the 1919 Stanley Cup final. Now all but forgotten, Leary is only a legend in his own mind until a high-powered advertising agency decides to feature him in a series of ginger ale commercials. With his male nurse, his son, and the irrepressible Blue, Leary sets off for Toronto on one last adventure as he revisits the scenes of his glorious life as King of the Ice.
Paul rolls into Hope--Population 1001--late at nigh on his thirtieth birthday, on the lam from his wife and a surprise party he has known about for weeks He is trying to escape the Big city and get some serious work done on his second novel, but finds the diversions of Hope no less seductive than those he has fled. One of those diversions is the two-hundred-year-old legendary fish, Ol' Mossback. Paul could hardly pass up the chance to land such a fish. He puts aside his work-in-progress in an attempt to discover the mysteries of Hope, with all its quirky characters, and to finally be able to answer the question, "talked with Ol' Mossback lately?"
One morning in Don Mills, Phil and his brother Jay agree to let their friend Norman Kitchen tag along on an adventure down into a ravine -- and what happens there at the hands of two pitiless teenagers changes all their lives forever. Years later the horrifying details are still unclear, smothered in layers of deliberate forgetting. Phil doesn't even remember the names: Ted and Terry? Tom and Tony? It's only when he descends into a crisis of his own that he comes to realize that perhaps, as he drunkenly tells a crisis line counsellor, "I went down into a ravine, and never really came back out." The Ravine is Phil's book -- we read it as he types it, in the basement apartment he's called home since his wife kicked him out for having an affair with a make-up girl. As he writes, and then corrects what he's written, we hear how he went from promising young playwright to successful, self-hating TV producer. We listen in on his disastrous late-night phone calls, and watch his brother (once a brilliant classical pianist) weep to himself as he plays Ravel and Waltzing Matilda in a desolate bar. The Ravine tells us all about the influence of The Twilight Zone on Phil's work and his life -- how it helped him meet his wife Veronica and then lose her, and how it led to the bizarre death of his friend, TV star Edward Milligan. Sometimes, when Phil's drunk, a friend will look at what he's written so far and call him on it -- like when Jay tells Phil that he's remembered it all wrong: that he was just as good as Phil at tying knots back when they were in the cubs. Phil's "ravine" is his attempt to make sense of things, to try to understand how everything went so wrong just as it seemed to be going so right. But The Ravine is also a Paul Quarrington novel, meaning that it's hilarious and ingenious, quietly working its magic until the reader is at once heartbroken and hopeful. A darkly funny story about loss and redemption, The Ravine is also about how stories are made -- how they can pull us out of disasters that seem too much for anyone to bear -- and about how, sometimes, what we need to forgive ourselves for is not what we think it is at all.From the Hardcover edition.
After a long, slow climb out of the strip dubs of Europe, Jurgen and Rudolfo have hit the big time in Las Vegas, headlining a magic act as slick as their own buffed and usually half-naked bodies. Rudolfo is content orchestrating the spectacle and attempting to twin his soul with Jurgens. But Jurgen hungers for more -- and finds it in a mysterious collection of magician's paraphernalia that once belonged to Harry Houdini. With the knowledge he finds there, and his own faith in the unknown, Jurgen becomes the miracle worker of the Las Vegas strip. "Darkly comic, deeply sad, and always ironic" (Library Journal), The Spirit Cabinet. takes dead aim at the place within us that yearns for miracles. "It is not a book about magicians and their pursuit of magic", wrote Alan Beaton in The National Post; "it is a book about human beings, and their pursuit of faith".
Des Howell is a former rock 'n' roll star who never leaves his secluded oceanfront mansion. Naked, rich and fabulously deranged, he subsists on a steady diet of whiskey, pharmaceuticals and jelly doughnuts and occasionally works on his masterpiece, "Whale Music. " One day, upon awakening from his usual drunken stupor, Des discovers on his sofa a young alien from the faraway universe of Toronto. This girl has made the trek to Des' hideaway because she believes in the "Whale Music" and she's crazy enough to think that Des can make a comeback hit with his mad magnum opus--
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