Up In Ontario

In honour of BC Book and Magazine Week (you’re going to one of the events, right?) I thought it would be a good time to review a great BC Book I recently had the pleasure of enjoying.

Well, technically it might not be a BC Book, since it is set in Ontario, and the author is from and wrote the book in Manitoba…

But he lives here now, so I’m claiming him, and his book, as our own!

Up in Ontario by James Sherrett was a highly enjoyable debut novel, and kept me in great company while lounging on Seven Mile Beach.

Like the bedrock that lines the highways between Winnipeg and Lake of the Woods, Gilbert Dubois is unmoveable. He can’t give up life as a trapper and fisher on the lake; nor his cabin on its shore. Not for Christine, the beautiful young law student from Winnipeg he marries, and not for their son Wade.

As Wade grows, the Lake of the Woods becomes to him a paradise where he summers with his dad. It’s a yearly escape from the upscale existence he shares with his mother in Winnipeg.

Wade has come to terms with his parents, who are now friends-but-nothing-more; he has accepted his father’s need to live off the land and his mother’s remarriage.

Now, as Wade graduates from university with a love of his own, he must reconcile himself with the Lake of the Woods. Is this the place that has kept Wade and his father close all these years, event as it pulled his parents apart? Is it the place where Wade will forge a life for himself alongside his dad? Or is this place, this lake up in Ontario, caught between history and progress, the chasm that will separate the Dubois family forever?

I’ll confess that when it comes to works of fiction, coming-of-age and personal growth stories are generally my favourites (on the more serious side I enjoy books by Wally Lamb, on the less serious side it’s Sophie Kinsella), and if you enjoy them as well then you should definitely pick up this book.

Sherrett’s language is so descriptive I can really see and feel life around the Lake, though he doesn’t mire the reader in pointless details that detract from the story. I find myself really caring about the characters: who they are, what shaped them, which choices they’re going to make. This is a classic tale of city mouse vs. country mouse, though the story never seems tired and played out.

The book demands attention from the reader to the progression of the story, but is still light and short enough to bring to the beach.

All in all a great read, and I’m looking forward to a follow-up publication.

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One thought on “Up In Ontario

  1. James

    Hey, Jen, thanks for the kind review. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. With regards to a follow up, I don’t have a timeline yet, but expect to hear about it when I do.

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