Welcome to The Word On The Street Book Club!

The Word On The Street has selected four great Canadian reads by authors appearing at the 2014 festival as part of our first summer book club.

We’ll be discussing the books each week throughout the summer, and on September 21st, everyone will have the chance to meet the authors in person at Queen’s Park Circle. ‘Tis the season for beach and park reading, so let’s get the conversation started!

If you aren’t an ‘official’ member of the book club, that shouldn’t stop you from joining in with your thoughts in the comments of the blog.

Click on the tabs above to check out the discussion questions our intrepid Book Club Leaders have come up with!

ManInTheShadowsMan in the Shadows
Gordon Henderson

Book Club Leader: Lila Campbell

Lila is an editor in Toronto. She has been a book lover as far back as she can remember and is never without a novel in her purse. Always looking for new reading experiences, Lila is a memeber of three book clubs (some more active than others) and she is excited to add The Word On The Street Book Club to her repertoire.

Take it away, Lila!

Part 1 – Ch 1–9 (Part 1)
Part 2 – Ch 10–20 (Parts 2 & 3)
Part 3 – Ch 21–29 (Parts 3 & 4)
Part 4 – Ch 30–42 (Parts 5 & 6)

Part 1:

1. We’ve just been introduced to Conor O’Dea, the protagonist of Man in the Shadows. At this point, do you see him as a hero? Why or why not?

2. John A. Macdonald is one of the main characters introduced in Part 1. What do you think of him as a character? Is he different than you would have assumed, based on his place in Canadian history?

3. Were you surprised by the presence of the IRA and the development of a terrorist movement at the time of Canadian Confederation?



3 thoughts on “Welcome to The Word On The Street Book Club!

  1. Hi book clubbers! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Man in the Shadows.

    And please feel free to pose questions of your own!

  2. Okay I’m not too sure why I feel like in 6th grade English again, but here goes

    Connor O’Dea is very much the protagonist almost stereotypically so. He’s the person we follow, the we–established struggle for pining for his love interest who we already know he’s going to get. The troubled relationship with his father is quite interesting and is the only thing saving him from being the generic young hero #Infinity.

    John A MacDonald is a much more interesting character specifically for the pedestal that we see him as the first prime minister of Canada. Unlike George Washington, whom I suspect was parts if I am to believe my exposure of American culture, though I think as Canadians we are more willing to acknowledge the flaws of our forefathers. i.e. the Pacific Scandal which brought MacDonald down or how Chester Brown’s “Louis Riel” also doesn’t portray a flattering portrait of John A MacDonald. Regardless despite his flaws, this man was instrumental in founding Canada so he was a great man.

    One of the best bits of this novel that puts the historical in the fiction is when Agnes points out to John that only he out of the rest of the fathers of confederation are going to be remembered, cause seriously who does remember the other fathers of confederacy? A great sentiment the kind that makes you nod and think (the author knows me)

    No countries foundation was ever built without blood and conflict. The fact that there were only a few battles with the Fenians and Canadians with ridiculously low casualties in comparison to other wars e.g. American Civil War, Franco-Prussian War of that time, and the treatment of the Irish is not a part of Canadian psyche, as compared to the African-American plight in the U.S., I would say that Canada had the more stable route for nationhood. That is not to say that actually delving more into this part of Canadian part of history is going to be boring.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, North York Writers! It’s not so bad to be thrown back to 6th Grade English, is it? 😉

      At this point in the book, I was more interested in the supporting characters (Thomas, Macdonald, the villain) than Conor. But I agree he has the set-up of a young hero on the brink.

      This book has reminded me as well how little we Canadians know about our own history. Admittedly, I didn’t know anything of substance about John A. Macdonald, the man, prior to picking up this book. By creating such a dynamic character for Macdonald — an alcoholic with a conflicted personal history who isn’t sure himself if the “experiment” of Canadian confederation is going to work — Henderson really pulled me in.

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