This extraordinary novel, written by one of the wisest and most versatile of novelists tells the story of a young man growing up.
His childhood friend Danny is gay, but that doesn’t him at all. He helps him throughout his life until his death.
Clyde Bryanton is a resident of a small southern Ontario town where everyone knows everyone and what he/she does.
He starts to help the senator representing the region in Ottawa.
The influential senator is rich, and politically well connected, prompting a French speaking friend to propose starting a political campaign and consulting company. They would lobby to get government contracts to prepare research-based studies on projects planned by different departments.
The company becomes quite successful as it could produce bilingual drafts and studies within short periods.
The main plot of the novel is how Clyde changes throughout his youth to adulthood while working for a small-time collection agency.
His marriage to Norma, a dance instructor, was “arranged” by the wife of the senator.
After marriage, he embarks on some real estate development and deals with the town council. This part of the narrative lays bare how municipal politics work, and can be successfully “navigated” by a capable major.
The birth of his child changes him and the family.
Norma eventually becomes infatuated with the idea of buying a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere close to Ottawa and to renovate it to her liking.
While the renovation was going on, she starts a relationship with the owner of a small general contracting company.
She then informs Clyde about her infidelity. Clyde accepts the situation realizing that he cannot change it. The separation followed by divorce leas him to a relationship with a beautiful young female, well-educated government employee in high position.
This relationship along with the success of his consulting company makes possible a trip to Paris.
While in “ the city of lights “, he decides to rent a car and drive alone to Dieppe where his father had died during World War II. He just wanted to see the place for himself and “connect” with his father.
Upon his return he meets his son Clifford for lunch and explains how he felt while visiting Dieppe.
This narrative tells a story of profound exploration of success in politics and business and failure in love life in a way, few, if any, writer can manage to accomplish.
It is a well written, novel that flows flawlessly from one happening to the next.
In short, it is a captivating page turner the reader cannot stop once started.