George Elliott Clarke - George and Rue (C)

I can’t remember who recommended this to me, but it was on my “To Read” list when I was trolling for a new Canadian writer to follow Babiak. Intrigued by the setting (eastern Canada), the era (post-War 1940s), and the characters (brothers, of Mi’kmaq and African descent), I went with George and Rue.

The novel shifts seamlessly back into the killers' pasts, recounting a bleak and sometimes comic tale of victims of violence who became killers, a black community too poor and too shamed to assist its downtrodden members, and a white community bent on condemning all blacks as dangerous outsiders.

Favourite Quote/ Scene

Setting is king in this book. It’s a time, place, and community that are rarely explored in literature and Clarke’s prose is appealing enough that it’s a good read for those reasons alone. 

Observations

The publisher descriptions do the book a bit of a disservice, setting it up as a rollicking crime adventure when it’s a much darker, slow-paced character study.

Fun Fact: I happened to pick up this book the same week Clarke was a guest on Canadaland Commons. It’s a great interview.

What’s Next?

Before I delve deeper into Canadian literature, I want to visit Margaret Atwood’s Survival - both for the analysis and to add a female voice to this thread.