Monday, 7 October 2013

Review: Cataract City by Craig Davidson

Owen and Duncan are childhood friends who've grown up in picturesque Niagara Falls--known to them by the grittier name Cataract City. As the two know well, there's more to the bordertown than meets the eye: behind the gaudy storefronts and sidewalk vendors, past the hawkers of tourist T-shirts and cheap souvenirs live the real people who scrape together a living by toiling at the Bisk, the local cookie factory. And then there are the truly desperate, those who find themselves drawn to the borderline and a world of dog-racing, bare-knuckle fighting, and night-time smuggling.
     Owen and Duncan think they are different: both dream of escape, a longing made more urgent by a near-death incident in childhood that sealed their bond. But in adulthood their paths diverge, and as Duncan, the less privileged, falls deep into the town's underworld, he and Owen become reluctant adversaries at opposite ends of the law. At stake is not only survival and escape, but a lifelong friendship that can only be broken at an unthinkable price.

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Doubleday Canada 
Kristine's review:
* I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review*
Every now and then a book comes along that makes you stop and go "wow." You find yourself thinking about it long after the last page is turned. This book is one of those books. 
Davidson writes flawlessly about the trials and tribulations of two boyhood friends and the bonds that connect them. I liked how it started out with Duncan being released from prison and then goes back to tell the story leading up to it. It is told from the point of view of both Owen and Duncan. Through the telling of their adventures as boys and teenagers I felt a real connection to the characters and believed in the magnitude of their friendship. He was effortless in describing the city, their place within it, and how it molded and shaped them. From being lost in the forest for days after being taken by their hero, college dreams shattered, racing dogs, fighting, and the love for the same girl, there is no shortage of things they endure together.
This book is about redemption, right and wrong, good and bad but mostly about the deep bonds of friendship and what happens when paths lead in different directions. I loved every page of it. Craig Davidson did a marvellous job and I will be sure to check out some of his other work.


About the author 
Craig Davidson is a Canadian author of short stories and novels, who has published work under both his own name and the pen name Patrick Lestewka. His style has been compared to that of Chuck Palahniuk.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, he was raised in Calgary and St. Catharines.

His first short story collection, Rust and Bone, was later published in September 2005 by Penguin Books Canada, and was a finalist for the 2006 Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Stories in Rust and Bone have also been adapted into a play by Australian playwright Caleb Lewis and a film by French director Jacques Audiard.

Davidson also released a novel in 2007 named The Fighter. During the course of his research of the novel, Davidson went on a 16-week steroid cycle. To promote the release of the novel, Davidson participated in a fully sanctioned boxing match against Toronto poet Michael Knox at Florida Jack's Boxing Gym; for the novel's subsequent release in the United States, he organized a similar promotional boxing match against Jonathan Ames. Davidson lost both matches.

His 2013 novel Cataract City was named as a longlisted nominee for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

In addition to his literary fiction, Davidson has also published several works of horror literature using the pseudonym Patrick Lestewka.

Craig Davidson is a thirty-year-old writer living in Calgary, Canada. His stories have been published in The Fiddlehead, Event, Prairie Fire, and SubTerrain. He also writes horror fiction under a pseudonym.
Connect with Craig online

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