August 17, 2011

Haven't you heard of Guy?

It is impossible to make a list of important and influential Canadian writers without including the name Guy Vanderhaeghe. He has over 75,000 hits on Google, and has written many fantastic novels.

One of his novels – The Englishman’s Boy – was made into a five-part miniseries and aired on CBC. With a list of credentials like that, we’re very lucky to have him at THIN AIR 2011.

Vanderhaeghe’s newest novel – A Good Man – is yet another display of his immense talent. Here is what it’s about:

Wesley Case, a former soldier and son of a lumber baron, seems unable to find his destiny or escape history. Unresolved anger lingers following the American Civil War; conflict with aboriginal peoples creates tension between the US and Canada; and even Case’s newfound love for the beautiful widow, Ada Tarr, inflames the jealousy of a quiet, but deeply disturbed, Michael Dunne—part paid thug, part psychopath.

Case’s confession of love also forces a confession of another kind; the revelation of an incident in his military career that resulted in his split with his family, his finance, and the end of his life in the East. At the same time, simmering resentments, political and personal, explode in a spectacular confrontation between native peoples and the American government as well as a violent resolution of Dunne’s plan for revenge against Case as he ever more feverishly imagines himself a contender for Ada Tarr’s affections.

The novel concludes with a scene of pastoral harmony—a metaphor for a new order and the final passing of the lawless individualism of the old West.

A Good Man is a large novel, but don’t let its size dissuade you. It is an interesting and gripping page-turner that you won’t want to put down, and each new chapter introduces new characters, historic scenes and emotional turmoil that will keep you hooked until the very last pages. It’s worth spending time reading, and so are Vanderhaeghe’s other titles. 

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