Welcome to The Word On The Street Book Club!
We’ve selected four great Canadian reads by authors appearing at the 2015 festival as part of our second summer book club.
We’ll be discussing the books each week for the next month, and on September 27th, everyone will have the chance to meet the authors in person at Harbourfront Centre.
Share your views in the comments of the blog, using the questions posed by our book club leaders as a jumping-off point for any other thoughts or questions you may have.
The Road to Atlantis
Leo Brent Robillard
Book Club Leader: Jenn Hubbs
Blog: Lost in a Great Book
Born in small town Ontario to a librarian and a high school teacher, Jenn grew up surrounded by books of all genres and a family of readers. A former teacher, she is a public librarian and a selection and events coordinator, working with publishers across North America. As a proud CanLit supporter, Jenn continues to read, review and recommend books to anyone who will listen.
Take it away, Jenn!
Welcome to the introductory week of discussion for The Road to Atlantis by Leo Brent Robillard! I hope that you will enjoy the next few weeks of reading and conversation, and hopefully we will have a chance to meet face to face at the upcoming The Word On The Street event in Toronto.
Some housekeeping notes to start:
In order facilitate an easier discussion for us, I’ve broken the book in to four segments:
Week 1: pages 1 – 46 (Cape May and part of A City By the River)
Week 2: pages 48 – 97 (remainder of A City By the River)
Week 3: pages 99 – 138 (The House on Water Street)
Week 4: pages 140 – 192 (The Road to Atlantis)
Please feel free to ask questions and to discuss each other’s responses, keeping in mind a culture of respect for everyone’s opinions and beliefs.
I have vivid childhood memories of my family of five – two adults, three kids, of which I was the youngest – loading our things into the car to begin the long journey from small town Southern Ontario to the family cottage in Nova Scotia. I can recall the stickiness of hot vinyl seats, the roar of the wind from the rolled-down windows and back and forth conversations between my parents and my two older brothers. I can’t recall what was said exactly, but I do remember the tone and feeling of certain conversations … the boredom that underlined the various forms of little sister torment from my brothers, and the short, tense and snippy feeling between my parents as they decided where and when to stop for the night.
While we were fortunate to have avoided major family devastation such as those reflected in the book, I can picture each person in that first section of the book quite clearly. Like Anne, my mother was the type of person who would ask my father to turn the car around for a pretty garden, while my father (a high school history teacher like David) would become frustrated with us for not appreciating the amazing things he wanted to share.
It’s these memories that brought the first section of the book alive for me. While you may not have the same exact memories from your childhood, I hope you found something familiar in these first few pages.
- While it is difficult to play the “what could have happened” game after the loss of Nat and the aftermath, it is clear in the first section of the book that David and Anne are not in sync during the trip. How has this tragedy shaped the family? What kind of family would they have become had their lives not been torn apart?
- Haruki Murakami reflects that, ““Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.” We are told that David has an almost photographic memory, and that he used to be proud of possessing such a skill. How does each character’s memory of Nat’s disappearance vary, based on their own filters and feelings?
- As parents, Anne and David deal with loss in different ways – Anne is beginning to develop OCD-style compulsions, while David is retreating from close relationships and previous passions, choosing alcohol over connection. Do you think it is characteristic of men and women to deal with grief or the loss of a child differently? Why do you believe each has reacted in the way that they have to the loss of Nat?