Friday, 21 March 2014
The Town that Drowned by Riel Nason
Small towns can be a supportive community where everyone knows everyone else, but it can also seem like a punishment when people continue to rub past events in your face. Ruby is hoping that the forced move will improve her and Percy's lot in life.
While the main story line is the flooding of the town, that of Percy, his behaviour and how the towns people respond to him is equally significant in my opinion. The term autism has been used since 1908, though it wasn't until the 1970s that it became more widely know. Keeping this in mind, I shouldn't be too surprised that there was so little understanding/tolerance for Percy.
I was younger than Percy at the time this novel was set. I have no memories of politics and how governments worked. In this book, the provincial government is portrayed as paternalistic. No public hearings nor consultations with the affected communities were held. No discussion with the towns people of where they want to located their new town. This lack of consultation led to all sorts of distrust and rumours in the community. I really got the feel of neighbour against neighbour as people tried to cope with their loss.
This book should appeal to teens through adults. History lovers will appreciate that the story was inspired by the construction of a dam on the St. John River in the late 1960's.
This is a debut novel for author Riel Nason
Cover image credit - Goose Lane Editions.