Books·Canadian

The Island Walkers

John Bemrose's novel is about a family who slips from fortune's favour.

John Bemrose

John Bemrose's highly acclaimed national bestseller tells the story of a family who slips from fortune's favour in a southwestern Ontario mill town during the mid-1960s. Like his father before him, Alf Walker is a fixer in the local textile mill. When a labour dispute forces him to choose between loyalty to his friends and his own advancement, Alf's actions inadvertently set in motion a series of events that will reverberate far into the future. Meanwhile, Alf's wife, Margaret, must reconcile her middle-class upbringing with her blue-collar reality, as her marriage is undermined by forces she cannot name. And after their eldest son, Joe, falls headlong for a girl he first glimpses on a bridge, the boy finds his world overturned by the passion and uncertainty of young love. At once intimate and epic in scope, The Island Walkers follows the Walker family to the very bottom of their night, only to confirm, in the end, life's regenerative power. (From Emblem Editions)

From the book

One Saturday in the summer of 1965, Joe and Alf Walker climbed onto the roof and spent the better part of the morning stripping the old shingles. By eleven they were busy nailing down the new ones. Joe, who had turned eighteen that July, worked on the slope overlooking the backyard. He sat shirtless, on his duff, and hammered sullenly between his legs, aware of the sun-baked expanse of tarpaper stretching up the slope behind him. From beyond the peak, his father's hammer thundered without rest. It seemed crazy to try to keep up.


From The Island Walkers by John Bemrose ©2003. Published by Emblem Editions.

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