Setting looks like landmark pool hall
Coun. Dean Pappas and local authors combine on new book Tales from the raven cafe.
They gather every morning at the Raven Cafe in downtown Peterborough, where they swap stories and offer advice, all the while not mentioning that they're all named after characters from the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
The Raven Cafe, by the way, looks a lot like Pappas Billiards, and happens to be located at the same address.
"This was the idea," said Dean Pappas, owner of the landmark pool hall. "We wanted it to reflect what happens in places like this, the culture, the people."
He's talking about Tales from the Raven Cafe, an unusual new book written as a collaboration by eight local writers, Pappas included.
"It's something I'd had percolating for a while, and I tried to get it off the ground a few years ago, but this time it took hold," Pappas said.
He met with writers Fred Cahoon, Val Crowley, Lloyd Graham, J.R. Maclean, Jay Perkins, Claire Sullivan and J.S. Thompson last year to suggest a unique project. He wanted to have them each write a locally oriented story about a character with a Poe name, setting out with only a paragraph-long character sketch written by Pappas.
"A lot of it was done by email," Graham said. "We'd touch base with one another to make sure things lined up."
That was crucial, Pappas said, adding the group met only three times over the course of the project as they wrote chapters about their characters.
"If I knew I was using someone else's character, I would let them know and we'd work out how it would work," he said.
Graham said the project took a lot of editing to bring its complex continuities together, but the end result is a very Peterborough story about people everyone knows.
"The names are from Poe, but that's all it is," he said. "Just the names. These are stories about Peterborough."
The book opens with Auguste Dupin, named for Poe's legendary detective character. But this Dupin is a young Vietnamese man living in Peterborough.
Pappas chose to write about Roderick Usher, whose names comes from one of his favourite Poe stories, The Fall of the House of Usher.
"I love Poe, always have," Pappas said. "But this was really just about using the names."
The book is now for sale at Titles Bookstore and Pappas Billiards, both on George St., with plans to have it available online in the works. A formal launch is also coming up, Graham said, with details to be announced.
Dean Pappas flips through a copy of Talesfromtheravencafé, a new book written by eight local writers - Pappas included - at Pappas Billiards on George St. The landmark pool hall and coffee shop is the thinly veiled setting of the book, which features...