February 27, 2007 at 5:03 pm #213
Anvil Press’s Synopsis
Rowan Friesen has made a career of drug-dealing and small-time thievery. He lives a loner’s life on the outer reaches of Saskatoon, selling crystal meth to highschoolers and hawking his pilfered loot on the Net. Shiftless and seemingly friendless, he is, at first glance, and unlikely and unlikable protagonist.
But as Stolen unfolds, we learn the details of Rowan’s life: his well-meaning but self-absorbed mother, his mentally-ill father, and a high school friendship both lustful and incendiary.
Praise for Stolen:
Stolen, published in fall, 2006, has received the Saskatchewan first book award and the Saskatoon book award. It was nominated for the Giller prize for fiction.
The Giller prize jury said, “It moves with the force of what’s right and true and must not be elided.”
Word magazine said, “Stolen is a powerful and unconventional novel. It marks a very impressive debut.”
The Globe and Mail said, “Abandon that blockbuster reprint and open Annette Lapointe. The Saskatoon writer’s exceptional first novel should be taught in high schools.”March 7, 2007 at 9:08 pm #284
CountryDamsel will review this book.March 27, 2007 at 7:54 pm #285
By Annette Lapointe
Reviewed by CountryDamsel
Have you ever met someone who does everything you disagree with and yet with whom you still understand and sympathize? I have. I met Rowan. In this novel I learned to like a drug dealer and petty thief. Fate, in the form of his father's mental illness, â€œstealsâ€ Rowan's father, changes his mother, the only female main character in the book, and changes Rowan's course in life. Later in life, mental illness takes yet another important figure away, Rowan's first-love. But mental illness is not the only important issue dealt with in this novel. In fact very few important issues are left out in this novel, issues all Canadians hear about just from listening to CBC. Some of the issues are marijuana and drug use; crime in youth, gay and lesbian relations; as well as previously mentioned mental health. This is a novel very relevant to our times.
Most the novel is set in small town Saskatchewan, except for a few formative years spent on the west Coast. Those of us from Saskatchewan will relate to the images of Saskatoon, Northern Saskatchewan and rural Saskatchewan. Saskatchewanians understand long bus rides with a driver named Earl on potholed roads to barely existing schools in barely existing towns. We also relate to the necessity of the internet, even if it is dial-up, to keep in touch with the rest of the world. In Rowan's words:
He's discovered there are two worlds out here. The one he recognized first is scattered, nearly empty. One person every two miles, hunkered in the prairie, close and surrounded by rusting hunks of machinery and the shells of mobile homes. Thinly connected by wires and never filled. The world he found more recently is crowded. â€¦ shrank to the size of a fifteen-inch monitor, and it's impossibly full.â€ Pg 18
I love Lapointe's gritty and frank writing style. Stolen, a Giller Prize Nominee, is a strong-black-coffee-straight-up type novel. Or maybe something even stronger! This is a story of acceptance. Perhaps a story of how experiences make us what we are. There is suspense in this novel but an important part of the novel is also a love story. Rowan is a man who could hold many labels in our mind and not all labels with good connotations either. And yet â€“ we learn to see beyond the label.
I like many things about this book but as a Christian, I found exception in the gay love affair. The author treated Rowan's love affair with respect, showing the relationship starting small and growing. But the details were more than I wanted to know.
This is not a book I would recommend to my mother-in-law. But if you're looking for a candid, gritty tale that causes you to question your preconceived notions, this is it.
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