No, it’s not a memoir. Now and again I just have to read a bit of fiction. Rockbound won the “Canada Reads” contest in 2005, bolstering its long-standing reputation as a Canadian classic (in this case, of Nova Scotia’s South Shore). Donna Morrissey, one of Canada’s finest novelists, was a fervent promoter of Rockbound.
Now that I’ve read it, I understand why.
When novels get picked apart, section by section, theme by plot by style, as they always do, they never make a perfect reading experience. So I could tell you there were aspects to Rockbound that bothered me (the tidy and forced romantic ending, for example). Overall, I am just glad to have read the book, which did what I require novels to do, and that is fly me away to other times and places and permit me to live there a while. I loved the South Shore dialogue (some might refute its accuracy, I don’t know), sustained throughout. I loved the insider’s view of a hardworking people (to put it mildly) and how they shaped their lives with this work on and by the ocean. It is not a kind life nor are they kind people. But I did enjoy their connectedness to the natural world and their strange, confrontational dependency on each other.Their world is a long, long way from microwaves, Facebook and the World Wide Web. Hell, it’s a long way from electricity and the Sears catalogue!!!