First-time novelist Mel Dagg will read from his book Oct. 9 in Courtenay.
“Passage on the Cardena is a gorgeous, cinematic, and engaging foray into a past we can’t afford to forget,” says Gary Geddes, author of Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things and Drink the Bitter Root.
“I love the deft choreography with which Mel Dagg sets in motion a fascinating cast of characters,” Geddes continues. “The novel is also replete with passages of another sort — brilliantly written glimpses of a now-vanished working coast. If you love fine writing and care about this magical intersection of earth, sea, and sky, don’t wait: Book passage now.”
In the summer of 1930, 15-year-old Matthew Clayton’s mother dies, leaving him alone in Vancouver. Using the Union Steamship ticket she gave him, he sets out in search of his father, who is logging somewhere on the rugged West Coast.
Matt boards the SS Cardena and begins an incredible voyage up the Inside Passage and through the isolated coastal communities the ship services.
On board he befriends fellow passengers Monica James and high-rigger Will Cameron, both intent on finding a new life, and Emily Carr, a soon-to-be-famous painter searching for a new direction in her art. What each of them finds comes as a surprise as they journey aboard the legendary steamship Cardena.
Dagg is the author of three short story collections, Same Truck, Different Driver, Women on the Bridge, and Four Wheel Drift: Stories New and Selected. He has lived and worked in many parts of Canada as a teacher and technical writer, and has a PhD in Canadian literature from the University of New Brunswick.
Mel was born in Vancouver and raised on Vancouver Island. As a young man he worked as a deckhand on the famous ocean-going towboat Lloyd B. Gore.
He and his wife currently divide their time between Mexico and Vancouver Island. Passage on the Cardena is Mel’s first novel.
For more details about the reading Oct. 9 at the Courtenay Public Library, phone 250-334-3369.
— TouchWood Editions