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Saints of Big Harbour

Lynn Coady's novel follows a cast of characters in a small Canadian town where gossip is vicious as it is pervasive.

Lynn Coady

Saints of Big Harbour is a funny, brutal and vivid story about small-town life and the inescapable power of gossip. Lynn Coady gives us the unforgettable Guy Boucher, a fatherless teenager and recluse, who finds himself at the centre of an ugly rumour. Several versions of truth emerge and collide through Guy's eyes and the stories of those who surround him — his overbearing uncle, a girl idealized by her town, a quietly wise young woman wrestling with demons of her own, his draft-dodger English teacher and a pair of golden boys trapped in emotional adolescence as well as Big Harbour itself. (From Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

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All sorts of deals being made around here. According to Isadore, everything is working out "beautifully" for "everyone," meaning him. You'd think he'd planned on being arrested all along. So he is paroled to my mother for driving the truck not just drunk but without a driver's license or insurance. My mother pays the insurance now that she's got a job in Big Harbour. I drive the truck all around hell and back, chauffeuring the both of them. My mother into town for her job, Isadore into town (once my mother's gone as if she won't know) to the tavern. And what's Isadore's job in this great deal? Baby-sitting me, apparently. And Louise, who is seventeen and hardly ever around anyway. The judge was delighted, he said. "I'm just delighted at the prospect. What this man needs is the responsibilities of a home and a family. God bless his dear sister for her generosity."

But it was for the truck. She couldn't have taken the job without it.


From Saints of Big Harbour by Lynn Coady ©2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Lynn Coady on her book about how books and literature are not dying in the digital age. 14:32

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