An extraordinary novel about family from one of Canada's most acclaimed poets.
An epic novel of unrequited dreams and forestalled lives, Red Dog, Red Dog
unfolds over the course of one week in and around a small town in British Columbia, 1958.
Elmer Stark is a violent man with a troubled past. Lillian, who married Elmer shortly after the Depression, finds herself retreating steadily into isolation. Their sons, Tom and Eddy, now in their twenties, are bound together by the secrets of their childhood years. As Eddy speeds freely along his reckless path, Tom, a loner, tries to sense from the fragments of the past. Then one night at a party, Eddy goes too far, and a dramatic spiral of events is set in motion.
Here is a novel about hardship and loss, revenge and ancient loyalties, about the sweetness of first love and the power of memory. A richly textured portrait of a time and a place, filled with moments of harrowing violence and breathtaking descriptions of the natural world, Red Dog, Red Dog
is a deeply moving novel that explores the legacies of the past and the possibilities of salvation.Author Profile
Patrick Lane is the author of There Is a Season
(2004), his highly acclaimed memoir, which won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and the inaugural British Columbia Award for Canadian Non-fiction. One of the country’s most celebrated poets, he has received numerous awards, including the Governor General’s Award and two National Magazine Awards. Lane lives near Victoria, B.C., with his wife, the poet Lorna Crozier. Red Dog, Red Dog
is his debut novel.Reviews
Lane is undeniably an accomplished writer…and his achievement here is his evocation of a forbidding landscape as the element in which these embittered characters have their being…It is fitting that Lane’s oracular first novel ends not conclusively but with a hint of the continuation of the kind of story it has told so well,Set in 1958, with flashbacks to the Depression and settler eras, this impressive tale of redneck life in British Columbia exudes suffering and menace.,The tale, with Tom and Eddy at its heart, is one of loathing, neglect, abuse and brutality, with little redemption except the powerful, vivid quality of the writing itself…Lane is talented and five decades as a poet are evident in his prose: rich and evocative, yet always precise.,the writing is beautiful.,[a] formidable debut.,Occasionally a novel comes out of nowhere and blows you away. This is one of those…The writing is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy at times, spare and beautifully crafted; at other points it recalls William Faulkner. This is an impressive debut from a name to watch,Acclaimed Canadian poet Patrick Lane has struck out in a new direction, completing his debut novel…I was hugely excited by the prospect, and the novel – an uncompromising family story set in the 1950s – does not disappoint,Lane’s exquisite craftsmanship is on display…particularly his unerring instinct for images that wound and enlighten in equal measure,Patrick Lane made his name as a poet. Goodness, can you tell. He has a fierce eye for detail and imagery…Breathtaking…Not only a searing portrait of a time and place…but also a noir-ish thriller…A really impressive debut,A rich variant on Cormac McCarthy’s biblically cadenced western noir and Flannery O’Connor’s Southern gothic.,Faulkneresque.,It is powerfully and … grippingly written… the descriptions of the natural world are very fine…Lane does have the knack of making his characters come to life,Meanwhile, the acclaimed Canadian poet Patrick Lane has struck out in a new direction, completing his debut novel, Red Dog, Red Dog. As a long-term fan of the sheer variety and ambition of Canadian writing, I was hugely excited by the prospect, and the novel – an uncompromising family story set in the 1950s – does not disappoint. It will appear in this country from Heinemann in May,Not since reading John McGahern's That They May Face The Rising Sun
have I come across a novel which so surely places the lives of its characters in the context of their landscape; but whereas with McGahern that landscape was local, intimate, and rewarding to those who worked it well, Patrick Lane's land is wild and barren, unforgiving, and populated by a scarred and hunted people.
Red Dog, Red Dog
is a shock of a novel; immaculately crafted, deeply thoughtful, and with a broken-hearted wisdom about the ways in which damage can fall through the generations. There is little to celebrate in the world these characters inhabit, but much to admire about the way Lane has revealed it to his readers. A work of great and unconsoled love,scenes are finely drawn and convincing.