On occasion our communities are blessed with a stroke of luck.
One of those fortuitous events will take place Oct. 22 at 1:30 p.m. in the Art Centre in “downtown” Denman Island.
Peter Behrens, winner of the Governor-General’s Literary Award for his book The Law of Dreams, will read from his new novel The O’Briens.
The O’Briens follows the family from The Law of Dreams two generations later: Joe O’Brien is coming of age in a new century in remote Pontiac County, Quebec, with his two brothers and two sisters by his side.
Their father has abandoned the family and died in the South African war; their frail mother has remarried the abusive and lecherous Mick Heaney.
Joe and his siblings escape the poverty and violence of the Pontiac, but as Joe travels the continent, building a business and a bright young family with his wife, Iseult, he is never quite able to leave his past behind.
Told from the perspectives of Joe, Iseult, and their children and spanning the construction of the Canadian railroad as well as both world wars, this is a majestic novel that mirrors the scope and sweep of what Wilfrid Laurier called Canada’s Century.
Tragic, romantic, and as vivid as the novel that preceded it, The O’Briens is an epic of great heart, imagination, and narrative force.
Behrens’ books have been published around the world to wide acclaim. His essays have appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Tin House, Saturday Night, and the National Post. He has also published a book of short stories called, Night Driving.
He was born in Montreal and lives on the coast of Maine with his wife and son.
Off-islanders can walk onto the 1 p.m. sailing to Denman Island and walk the short distance to the Art Centre in plenty of time for the 1:30 reading. Admission is free.
— Denman Island Art Centre