Keeping Things Whole by Darryl Whetter
|November 11, 2014||Posted by Alison Jenkins under Canadian, Fiction, Literature|
Keeping Things Whole is a tale of contraband smuggling, tumultuous love and the liminal space between two countries, two people, and two histories.
Anthony Williams, a house painter by day, weed smuggler by night, is the cocky protagonist of this gritty and frank novel. He is surrounded by Kate, his runner/ law-student girlfriend; Gloria aka: “Glore” his thespian single Mom; and Gran, his beloved grandmother. Conspicuous in his absence is Trevor Reynolds, Anthony’s father.
Full of post-modernist device, the structure is clever, the plot rolls along, and the characters unfurl engagingly. Whetter has written a detailed exploration of the transitions common to growing into adulthood and littered it with wild anecdotes of the prohibition, weed smuggling, and urban decay.
Anthony is a frustrating, emotionally isolated, challenging character that is somehow likable. Probably because he does what he wants and gets away with it. But for all his illegal designs, he steadfastly straddles the middle ground in his personal life: neither an engaged son nor estranged, neither committed to Kate for the long term nor single. Anthony refuses to attach himself to anything but his own version of his family history. The heartbreaking finale has him facing a big decision: remain entrenched in his history and familial tradition or move away from his past into the future Kate offers?
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