Into That Darkness

Into That Darkness

A Novel

Book - 2011
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Acclaimed Canadian poet Steven Price has conjured a stunning debut novel that explores what we ask from each other, and how much we are prepared to give.

Set in the city of Victoria, British Columbia, Into That Darkness opens at the moment when a massive earthquake hits the entire west coast with devastating results. Amid the destruction of the city, survivors are left to negotiate a calamity in which bonds of civility are pushed to their limits and often broken.

When Arthur Lear hears a voice crying in the rubble, he finds himself descending deep under a collapsed building in a desperate attempt to save a young boy and his mother. But what he discovers there will change him forever -- as circumstances lead him across the city's broken landscape, through the chaos of its hospitals and streets, in a harrowing search for the mother's lost daughter. Over the days that follow, Lear's very sense of humanness will be tested and compromised, as he faces the limits of himself and his fellow survivors, in his long journey home.

A novel for our age of anxiety and fear, Steven Price delivers a powerful story about the physical manifestation of the darker things lurking in our culture, in ourselves.

Publisher: Markham, Ont. : Thomas Allen Pub., c2011
ISBN: 9780887627378
Branch Call Number: PRIC
Characteristics: 273 p. ; 23 cm


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Jul 04, 2017

Good read.
Can't wait for another novel from Steven Price.

melwyk May 01, 2012

This book takes the idea of a shattering disaster, and investigates what would happen to those in the midst of such a tragedy. What would the human cost and human reaction be? It turns out that the world quickly turns to chaos and self-interest, with the landscape of the novel nearly apocalyptic. There seems to be little order, no outside assistance, and hordes of marauding criminals.

However, in the end I seemed to have the same problem with this book as I do with others that are similarly post-apocalyptic in feel. I just couldn't feel truly engaged with the situation. It seemed so improbable that chaos and self-interest would immediately come to the fore, with men organizing themselves into roving gangs, and the patriarchal viewpoint unquestioningly restored, with women seen primarily as adjuncts to the action, with sexual violence hinted at.

So, read it if you like disaster stories. But if you're going to continually question why nobody is coming to assist the city, well, it might not be worth your time to puzzle through it. If you can let the niggling details slide and simply appreciate the deeper philosophical themes and the ideas of human nature vs. wider nature, then you may find the writing deep and rewarding.

Cdnbookworm Nov 21, 2011

This is a dark novel, set in Victoria after a major earthquake. The story follows three characters. Arthur Lear is an older man who lives alone in the house his grandfather raised him in. Arthur is an artist, a painter who hasn't worked on his art in some time. He is a man who feels his age, but the earthquake draws him out of himself to assist with digging others out and assisting them. Mercia is a single mother of two children, Mason and Kat, who runs a small cafe. She is a strong character and puts her children above other needs. Mason is Mercia's son, a small boy who notices more than other people think.
When the earthquake occurs Arthur has just been to the cafe and is at the nearby tobacco shop, where his friend Axa works. Mason is in the cafe with Mercia. Arthur survives the collapse of the building with minor injuries, but Mercia and Mason are buried for quite a while.
As we get a sense of the devastation around them, the lawlessness that has come upon the city, and the barriers to their finding loved ones, we get into each of the character's heads and see their motivations and the way they try to protect each other.
A very good read.

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