A noted craftsman, Robert Harlow is one of Canada's finest story-tellers.

 

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A Gift of Echoes
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A Gift of Echoes

A GIFT OF ECHOES is the second of Harlow´s three books set in the northern town of Linden. Of his unique novel, the British Book Service wrote, "There is a timeless quality about this powerful, complex novel which is impossible to pin down in a few words."

After fighting in WWl, Henry Acton came west from Toronto to Onion Lake and built a sawmill. Older now, and the victim of a mild stroke, he has retired there in 1946 to live out his final years. His family – WWll veteran Nairn, Nairn´s wife Cora and their daughter Jenny have come west so he can learn the business and take over the mill. His war was traumatic and his return more so. Cora´s war, spent partying, is something she wants to forget, make a new life. Jenny has just graduated from University.

It is early May, a year beyond VE Day. John Grandy, who taught at the one-room school in Onion Lake village before the war, returns because he wants seclusion. He wants to heal in a known place where decisions don´t have to be made. He asks Nairn for a job. It is as if he arrives as a destructive element whose presence causes the machinery of all their fates to impinge on the family and the mill.

But the real destructive element is Velma, who before the war had been a student of Grandy´s. She is not evil; rather she is a Typhoid Mary whose contagion she spreads uncomprehendingly, and it causes havoc among the Actons, Grandy and Grandy´s mother who lives in Linden.

And, finally, the triggers to the culmination of the tragedy are the fire that reduces the mill and lumber camp surrounding it to ashes, and the desperate acts of Max, the giant ex-boxer who twenty years ago fled the trauma of his life among gamblers in the US. They beat him to near-death and caused brain damage, because he cost them money when he took a dive in the wrong round of a heavyweight bout. It is he who is wrongly accused of setting the fire. And it is he and John Grandy, brought nightmarishly together, who bring to an end the fall of the house of Acton.

This is a story set outside of history and placed in an exotic setting, but it speaks to the emotions of people everywhere. A Gift Of Echoes is an experience for readers that is finely rendered and worth exploring.

Click here to read an excerpt.

     

 

| Home | Faraday Comes Home | A Gift of Echoes | Scann | Making Arrangements |

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| Necessary Dark | Royal Murdoch | Contact |

 

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