Todd Babiak’s Come Barbarians has virtually nothing to do with Forkey’s research on Canadians and the natural environment except for the fact that I met Todd at an event related to Canadians and the natural environment and have been meaning to read this book ever since.
It’s “Canadian”, in the sense that the author is from Canada and the main characters used to live in Canada, but the book itself is set in France.
At the beginning of the novel, we find Christopher Kruse grieving after a horrific accident. Slowly we learn that Kruse has moved from Toronto to the south of France with his family. He looked after his young daughter, Lily, while his wife, Evelyn, worked for a man who was vying to become the new leader of a right-wing political party, the National Front. After Lily is killed by a drunk driver, Evelyn goes missing. Kruse must draw on his former life – as well as dredge up guilt from his past – to find her. The story follows his attempt to find his wife and uncover the truth about the accident.
Favourite Scene/ Quote
I’m a sucker for books set in the south of France. Babiak plays off the setting, contrasting the idyllic setting against gruesome crime. It’s kind of hard to go wrong there.
The wife’s character - and her interest in politics - is fascinating. It’s not a huge part of the book, but there are a lot of interesting layers there.
The book is Canadian without being “Canadian”. It fits into Atwood’s “Survival” theory, but in a whole new kind of way. There’s no winter, no fighting with wild animals ...
Still happy in the “Canadian” fiction realm, but looking for something focused on characters not from a predominantly white/ anglo/ European background.