The End of Mu­sic

The End of Mu­sic any good books lately?

The Southern Gazette - - Classified­s - Harold Wal­ters Book Re­marks Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­[email protected]

[Break­wa­ter Books] is a good book.

If you asked me to­day —

— I’d an­swer, “Yes, Jamie Fitz­patrick’s The End of Mu­sic.”

I was a wee bit sur­prised to have liked this novel as much as I did. I couldn’t re­late to the cover il­lus­tra­tion of band in­stru­ments on an empty stage. Sure, I don’t know a Tele­caster from a Les Paul.

I read be­cause I liked its heft. I liked the feel of it in my hands. Some­times touch­ing a book is akin to lick­ing your fin­ger­tip and dab­bing it on a live wire.

There’s a jolt, eh b’ys?

The story car­ried me back to my long-gone youth, es­pe­cially the patch­work pieces I spent in Gan­der, New­found­land: Gan­der, an air­port town, once renowned as the Cross­roads of the World.

Back in 1960-what­ever, en route from the iron ore fields of west­ern Labrador to univer­sity in St. John’s, I oc­ca­sion­ally spent nights in Gan­der be­cause St. John’s air­port was fogged in. In those days, when flight in­ter­rup­tions oc­curred, air­lines “put you up for the night.”

— it wasn’t un­known for my trav­el­ling bud­dies and I to par­take of strong drink and wind up asleep with our feet propped on the ra­di­a­tors of some Gan­der ho­tel.

Also, me and Mis­sus spent a hon­ey­moon night at the Gan­der Hol­i­day Inn be­fore fly­ing into west­ern Labrador to earn some sum­mer wages.

So, yes, read­ing about Gan­der brought back mem­o­ries.

Al­though Gan­der is a char­ac­ter in this novel — kinda — the book is more the story of Joyce (Pel­ley) Carter and her son Herbert Carter, both mu­si­cians of sorts.

The au­thor tells the mother and son story in an al­ter­nat­ing point of view fash­ion, a chap­ter for Joyce, a chap­ter for Carter. Joyce works with Trans Canada Air­lines and also sings with a lo­cal band dur­ing Gan­der’s post­war hey­day. Carter is a mem­ber of “a semi-ob­scure mid-90s Cana­dian rock band.” . . . . . .

Chap­ter one is Carter’s. It an­swers a uni­ver­sal ques­tion Gran­nies some­times ask, in spec­u­la­tion, re­gard­ing their way­ward kin —

We know right away what Joyce — one­time torch singer — comes to.

Carter has re­turned to Gan­der from Upa­long to help his mother move into How­ley Park, a se­niors’ home.

Sadly, that some­times hap­pens at the end of mu­sic.

An aside of sorts. You don’t have to be a musician to en­joy

just as you don’t have to be a base­ball player — or even like base­ball — to en­joy W. P. Kin­sella’s novel

I don’t have a note in my nog­gin and I’m not a base­ball fan. Nev­er­the­less, I sing the praises of, and I’d go to bat for, both nov­els.

That last bit is lame, eh b’ys? Let’s see if I can scrib­ble a syn­op­sis.

Joyce Pel­ley, a bay-girl from Cape St. Rose, moves to Gan­der, a town not long out of di­a­pers, so to speak. She works for the air­lines and sings in a lo­cal band. Blink, blink, blink. Her life zips along and she has a son, Herbert Carter.

Carter grows up, joins a fif­teen-min­utes-of-fame band, leaves home — like a good New­found­lan­der — and moves Upa­long. He gets mar­ried. He gets di­vorced. Re-mar­ries and has a son. And so on.

End of syn­op­sis, such as it is, eh b’ys.

I’m scrav­el­ling be­cause I want to you to peep in on a crowded wake where there are lit­tle boys “who were sent out­side when­ever some­one no­ticed that they had come back in.”

Those were truly the good old days. Days when young­sters, un­der­foot and tor­ment­ing — Bless their hearts — were sim­ply hus­tled out­doors with­out fear of trau­matic scar­ring.

Granny would have said, “T’won’t hurt ‘em a bit.”

I’m al­ways on the look­out for a gem-dandy com­par­i­son. Here’s my favourite from

While helping his mother pack, Carter picks up a jew­elry box “no

big­ger than a meat­loaf.”

Run­ner-up is the best, most heart­en­ing im­age of teenage pim­ples ever — “His (Jor­dan’s) pim­ples are lit­tle erup­tions of in­ner vi­tal­ity.”

Sure, that sug­ges­tion of vi­tal­ity al­most makes you want to have your own patch of pim­ples. Or not.

Lis­ten. Buy

You won’t be able to put it down. And you’ll be “all sot” to an­swer when some­one asks, “Read any good books lately?”

Thank you for read­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.