Breakfast at the Exit Cafe: Travels Through America

Greystone Books
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What begins as a road trip through America soon becomes a journey of discovery into themselves and into the heart of the next-door neighbour they thought they knew. For Wayne Grady, the thrill of landscape and history is tempered by memories of racism and his own family roots. Merilyn Simonds, her ear tuned for the offbeat, finds curious echoes of the ex-pat promised land she grew up with. Together they travel against the tide of American history, following in the literary tire tracks of John Steinbeck, William Least Heat Moon, and Francis Trollope.

Grady and Simonds experience the splendors of the Mojave Desert, the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi River, and the bayou’s of Louisiana and the Outer Banks and contemplate the impact of geography on culture and of culture on landscape. They observe America from the outside, yet feel strangely at home.

Part travelogue, part exploration, part mid-winter love story told with wit and acuity by one of Canada’s most engaging literary couples, Breakfast at the Exit Cafe is a journey into the reality behind the cultural myth that is America.
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About the author

Wayne Grady is one of Canada's finest science writers and a Governor General's Award-winning translator. He has authored eleven books of nonfiction, translated fourteen novels, and edited more than a dozen anthologies of short stories and creative nonfiction.

Merilyn Simonds is the author of fourteen books, including the novel The Holding, named a New York Times Editor's Choice, as well as the acclaimed works of literary nonfiction The Lion in the Room Next Door and The Convict Lover, a finalist for the Governor General's Award.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Greystone Books
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Published on
Sep 25, 2010
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781553656562
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Wayne Grady
For readers of Colson Whitehead, James McBride, Yaa Gyasi and Lawrence Hill, Up From Freedom is a powerful and emotional novel about the dangers that arise when we stay silent in the face of prejudice or are complicit in its development.

As a young man, Virgil Moody vowed he would never be like his father, he would never own slaves. When he moves from his father's plantation in Savannah to New Orleans, he takes with him Annie, a tiny woman with sharp eyes and a sharper tongue, who he is sure would not survive life on the plantation. She'll be much safer with him, away from his father's cruelty. And when he discovers Annie's pregnancy, already a few months along, he is all the more certain that he made the right decision.

As the years pass, the divide between Moody's assumptions and Annie's reality widens ever further. Moody even comes to think of Annie as his wife and Lucas as their son. Of course, they are not. As Annie reminds him, in moments of anger, she and Moody will never be equal. She and her son are enslaved. When their "family" breaks apart in the most brutal and tragic way, and Lucas flees the only life he's ever known, Moody must ask himself whether he has become the man he never wanted to be--but is he willing to hear the answer?

Stretching from the war-torn banks of the Rio Brazos in Texas to the muddy waters of Freedom, Indiana, Moody travels through a country on the brink of civil war, relentlessly searching for Lucas and slowly reconciling his past sins with his hopes for the future. When he meets Tamsey, a former slave, and her family trying to escape the reach of the Fugitive Slave Act, Moody sees an opportunity for redemption. But the world is on the cusp of momentous change, and though some things may be forgotten, nothing is ever really forgiven.
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