A NovelBook - 2007
A new novel that Richard B. Wright's Clara Callan fans will adore, October effortlessly weaves a haunting coming-of-age story set in World War II Quebec with a contemporary portrait of a man still searching for answers in the autumn of his life.
In England to see his daughter, Susan, who is gravely ill, James Hillyer, a retired professor of Victorian literature, encounters by chance a man he once knew as a boy. Gabriel Fontaine, a rich and attractive American he met one summer during the war, when he was sent on a holiday to the Gaspé, is a mercurial figure, badly crippled by polio. A s an adolescent, James was both attracted to and repelled by Gabriel's cocksure attitude and charm. He also fell hopelessly in love with Odette, a French- Canadian girl from the village, only to find himself in competition with the careless Gabriel. Now, at this random meeting over six decades later--as he struggles with the terrible possibility that he could outlive his own daughter--James is asked by Gabriel to accompany him on a final, unthinkable journey. A t last, James begins to see that all beginnings and endings are inexorably linked.
A classic Richard B. Wright novel, defined by superb storytelling, subtle, spare writing and characters who travel psychological territory as familiar--and uncharted--as our own, October is an extraordinary meditation on mortality, childhood and memory.