Greer Pentland is having a challenging year. Her teenaged son, Sam, is on trial for the murder of two senior citizens, a crime allegedly committed while he was sleepwalking. Greer is also battling breast cancer, a disease that has left her with a litany of physical side effects and deep anger toward the incompetence of the medical profession.
Yet, in the face of all these obstacles, GreerÍs story is full of hope and delicious dark humour. Her indelible strength is fuelled by her unconditional love for her son and the moral support she receives from her 88-year-old aunt, a chain-smoking, vodka-swilling, vitamin-popping senior whose continual commentary on the morbid news of the day is wickedly funny and provocative. This novel about one courageous womanÍs fight to survive in a post-millennium culture gone mad is heroic, heart stopping, and affecting.
The Barking Dog, the fifth novel from Cordelia Strube, CanadaÍs pre-eminent writer of urban fiction, is an unforgettable portrait of modern life in these media-saturated, apocalyptic times.
Thomas Bunting, the charming, chaotic, and deeply untruthful narrator of James Wood's wonderful first novel, is in despair. His marriage is disintegrating and his academic career is in ruins: instead of completing his philosophy Ph.D. (still unfinished after seven years), he is secretly writing what he hopes will be his masterwork, a vast atheistic project he has privately entitled "The Book Against God."
But when his father suddenly falls ill, Thomas returns to the tiny village in the north of England where he grew up and where his father still works as a parish priest. There, Thomas hopes, he may finally be able to communicate honestly with his father, a brilliant and formidable Christian example, and sort out his own wayward life. But Thomas is a chronic liar as well as an atheist, and he finds, instead, that once at home he soon reverts to the evasive patterns of his childhood years—with disastrous results.
The story of a husband and wife, a father and son, faith and disbelief, and a hero who couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it, The Book Against God is at once hilarious and poignant; it introduces an original comic voice—edgy, elegiac, lyrical, and indignant—and, in the irrepressible Thomas Bunting, one of the strangest philosophers in contemporary fiction.