First aired on
The Next Chapter (01/08/11)
Andrew Pyper is known for writing the kind of books that have you looking over your shoulder and nervously checking out the noises in the cellar. But they're also the kind of books that will leave you thinking about bigger issues like the nature of friendship, the limits of loyalty and the complexities of small-town life.
In his new novel, The Guardians, Pyper sets these serious themes within a suspenseful storyline that grabs you and won't let go. It's what the acclaimed author calls a haunted house story, and follows the lives of four men from the same small Ontario town who are haunted by a crime that took place in their high school years.
According to Pyper, the idea of a haunted house was something he was quite familiar with, having grown up in a small town himself.
"Every small town has a haunted house," he told host Shelagh Rogers in a recent interview on The Next Chapter. "Growing up in a small town, you have fewer stages on which to perform. So I think we create haunted houses because we need them. We need a site for bad stuff. And to imagine ourselves getting involved in bad stuff."
Marrying the idea of a haunted house to a larger concept is something he's wanted to do for a long time, Pyper said. But the opportunity didn't arise until he was approaching his fortieth birthday. That's when he started to really ponder where he was in life and what role friendship, and male friendship in particular, played in how he got there.
It's a topic that he believes is often overlooked by male authors.
"Maybe it's because men look forward and grapple with the 'big ideas' in literature. You know, it's the whole 'big novel' wrestling match, and we overlook relationships that are quietly more influential," Pyper said. "Friendships are so essential and yet so infrequently explored."