The Island Walkers by John Bemrose

The Island Walkers

John Bemrose

This is a big old-fashioned read - direct, passionate, confident in its seriousness. It builds a detailed picture of work and family in 1960s' Canada when the small-town mills were bought out by bigger firms. It sets a gentle pace and you'll need to adjust to that but the reward is a depth of insight into fathers and sons especially.

Extract

Along the balcony, all talk and laughter stopped. Alf glanced covertly to his right and saw Kit Ford's blue-jeaned leg and black running shoe swinging inches from his shoulder. The foreman was leaning from the open door, like a conductor from a train. Some of the knitters stared up at him with blank faces. Some turned away to look impassively into space. There was a sense in the air of obstinate denial. They were used to obeying the buzzer, obeying every order that came from above, but today, in the sun and the intoxication of their laughter, they seemd to have taken a communal decision to ignore the foreman.

Parallels
  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry