Review: The Canterbury Trail by Angie Abdou

8 Feb

Publisher: Brindle & Glass
Released: Feb 8th, 2011
Genre: Canadian literature
Purchased for my Kobo as soon as it was available.

It’s the last ski weekend of the season and a mishmash of snow-enthusiasts is on its way to a remote backwoods cabin. In an odd pilgrimage through the mountains, the townsfolk of Coalton—from the ski bum to the urbanite—embark on a bizarre adventure that walks the line between comedy and tragedy. As the rednecks mount their sleds and the hippies snowshoe through the cedar forest, we see rivals converge for the weekend. While readers follow the characters on their voyage up and over the mountain, stereotypes of ski-town culture fall away. Loco, the ski bum, is about to start his first real job; Alison, the urbanite, is forced to learn how to wield an avalanche shovel; and Michael, the real estate developer, is high on mushroom tea.

In a blend of mordant humour and heartbreak, Angie Abdou chronicles a day in the life of these industrious few as they attempt to conquer the mountain. In an avalanche of action, Angie Abdou explores the way in which people treat their fellow citizens and the landscape they love.

From Brindle & Glass website.

Holy smokin’ turtles! The Canterbury Trail is one Hell of a book. I mean, whether you’re into skiing, group dynamics or different ways to consume pot,  you’ll probably flip over this book, too.

For me, the idea of smooshing a diverse group of people into a ski cabin for the night is wicked cool. See, my educational background is in sociology and I’ve always been fascinate with group dynamics. And the group dynamics in The Canterbury Trail had me salivating for most of the book. It was almost like a Canadian backwoods winter reality TV show. But unlike reality TV shows where there are clear “good guys” and “bad guys”, the cast of The Canterbury Trail was all a mix of both. Every time it seemed like a character was clearly “the dick” or “the slut” Abdou gave a us a deeper peak into their being and it was clear that all was not as it seemed on the surface.

There are quite a few characters in this book and at first I thought I was going to need a cheat sheet just to keep up with everybody. But Abdou writes in such a way that keeping everyone straight was never an issues. Some chapters also saw multiple changes in point of view, which would normally make me want to pitch the book, but in this case it was done so seamlessly that I didn’t find it confusing or annoying.

Nature, and the mountains themselves, are characters in the book, and through Abdou’s writing you can tell she has a great love and respect for the outdoors. I read most of The Canterbury Trail during a snowstorm, which only added to my awe of her writing about the snow and nature and how perfectly she nailed each description. I was also in awe of why anyone in their right mind would want to hike for hours in the snow to ski, but hey, what can I say? I’m not the outdoorsy type.

I think the book’s ending may take some people by surprise, but I think it ended the only way that it could. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. (At least here, anyway. Angie? Expect an email from me, soon. :P)

I really loved this book. In fact, I think I actually loved it more than Abdou’s The Bone Cage, which I didn’t think possible. And The Canterbury Trail solidified Angie Abdou as one of my favorite writers.

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Review: The Canterbury Trail by Angie Abdou”

  1. amymckie February 8, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Glad you enjoyed the book! I may have to read it one of these days. Or years. Sigh, the list is ever growing!

  2. Angie Abdou February 15, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Thank you so much for being my first reviewer. It’s always stressful waiting for responses after a book’s release. This review is keeping me sane. Thanks too for not giving away the ending – I responded via e-mail! It’d be fun to talk to this book with bookclubs who have already read it so we can talk about EVERYTHING.

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