Sunday, April 01, 2012
A group of young girls ride the train, having just left the park. They were having a conversation: "No, but I think monkeys are more morally superior than people, because monkeys don't use landmines and stuff, do they?" Zoe was saying, when they see the man; dirty, skinny sitting on the bench and talking to himself. Later, on the subway, they fall. And this is followed by a series of falling across town. Parents showing up at hospitals with sick kids. Middle-aged men with cases of cardiac episodes. But, the girls are aware of their unique position. They were the first who fell. They know more than anyone else.
Alex is on the same train. He gets off the train, pushes through people and gets to the street level quickly. He looses himself in the closest convenience store to pick up a disposable camera. He feels better with a camera in his hand. That's when he runs into Adrian, a friend/colleague from over a decade ago. Adrian tells him Susie-Paul is back in Toronto. "He would come when she called. Watch when she left. Lose her, lose his eyes. Lost the winter light, and end up with nothing." That's how Alex is when Susie-Paul is around.
Many things happen in this book. There is past, Susie and Chris while Alex watches their destructive relationship. There is present Alex fighting a sever case of diabetes, Susie-Paul looking for her schizophrenic brother, Derek, the fallen girls and a city shrouded in FEAR. And there is future, undecided, uncertain, and unclear.
Nouns and adjectives are well chosen. The book is well written. The streets are familiar. But the book falls short of telling a story. It is poetry written in prose with no definitive beginning no definitive end, but many middles.
Chosen as "Toronto One Book --Community Read of 2012", this book sets in Toronto subway. Ironically, I read most of the book on the subway.