Beach Reading by Lorne Elliott
Finalist for The Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2013
Lorne Elliott’s new novel, Beach Reading, takes us back to the early 1970s on the North Shore of Prince Edward Island, where a hilarious and colourful cast of Lorne Elliott characters are engaged in uproarious political, financial, musical, amorous, and ecological shenanigans. Our young hero, Christian, is an eloquently wry and precocious university drop-out, who has never savoured the wonders of women or alcohol. A budding naturalist raised in central Canada, he arrives on PEI for a summer job in the newly-established Barrisway National Park, and sets up camp on the beach. There, he becomes enmeshed in the struggles of the boisterous MacAkrin siblings to remain in their park-enclosed home, rivalries and lustful longings at park headquarters, and the skullduggeries of an Island political campaign. Lorne Elliott gloriously conjures the mischief and zaniness, the lovable rascals and lamentable rogues, of Island life behind the tourist posters. He deftly evokes the kindness and camaraderie of Islanders, and the Island’s high-spirited revelry. Beach Reading transforms the Land of Anne and Avonlea into the land of Wallace MacAkrin, the Barley Boys, and Barrisway. “Come play on our Island,” as the tourist slogan says, and you’ll be laughing with bittersweet delight for days.
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