What’s better than reading a book you really like? Meeting the author who wrote that book and telling him in person that you really liked his book. What’s better than telling an author in person that you really liked his book? Telling a group of book-lovers in person that you really liked his book in a semi-formal event setting where they are forced to listen to your opinions. Well, I’ve done the first two things, and I’m crossing the third off my list on Nov. 5.
I raced through Craig Davidson’s Cataract City about a week ago, reading it in about three days, which is all the more impressive because its about 400 pages long (hardcover folks!). Similar to the writing of D.W. Wilson, Davidson’s books are typically focused on male characters doing manly things (boxing, dog-fighting, etc.), but he does a wonderful job of making these grimace-inducing situations readable, incorporating beautiful descriptions into the tense moments he depicts. Another reason I loved this book was the setting-Cataract City is actually Niagara Falls, which to be honest I haven’t visited often, even though I grew up about an hour away from it. Davidson exposes the underbelly of the tourist town, digging past the wax museum and kitsch shops to reveal the desperation underneath it. This general restlessness triggers most of the plot points throughout the book, which I should mention are plentiful. There is lots of action throughout the book, and life or death moments do come up regularly (as they typically do in a man’s life, right?), which is probably another reason I read it so quickly.
As many of you book-lovers may know, Davidson’s book was shortlisted for the Giller Prize a few weeks ago, which means its not only a worthy read, but there are a ton of reviews out there that describe how good it is and why, so I’m struggling a bit to come up with some original observations. This being said, I thought I would pass on some interesting facts about the author to make this post a little more unique: for instance, did you know that Craig Davidson once pumped himself full of steroids and took on a professional fighter in order to promote his last book, Rust and Bone? I know authors who are reluctant to create a facebook page for their own book for god’s sakes.
So, it didn’t get a chance to confess all my strong feelings about the book when I met Davidson after one of his events at WordFest, but I did get a chance to tell him I was speaking at the Giller Light Part on Nov. 5, and that I’d be defending Cataract City in an attempt to convince the audience that his book should rightfully win (and that they should all purchase a copy of the book as soon as they could!). He was probably a bit surprised at my enthusiasm, as I might have come across a bit too excited. That was a particularly stressful week at work for me, so when I saw him at the event I probably appeared a bit more ‘jazzed up’ than most of the attendees, but he graciously humored me all the same, and signed my book with the following message: “Please represent me with all due care and consideration, very best, CD”. I’ve included a picture for people to see-above is what I think he wrote, but I could be wrong about that, his handwriting is admittedly hard to read.
So, come to Lolita’s Lounge in Inglewood Calgary on Nov. 5 to see yours truly attempt to convince an audience of people that Cataract City is worth winning the 2013 Giller Prize. What tactics will I use to fortify my argument? My witty comments of course! And if that doesn’t work, bribery is always a great fallback. Don’t worry Craig, I will do you proud either way!