FINDING HOME by Eric Wright (Cormorant), 281 pages, $22.95 paper. Rating: NNN
Sometimes a novel doesn’t have to be noisy to be effective.
Take Eric Wright’s Finding Home. Part fiction, part travelogue, it charts the journey of Will Prentice, who’s just been dumped by his wife. He leaves his Toronto home to deal with his mother’s business and personal effects after her death in England, Will’s own birth country.
There, he embarks on a trip through England with his uncle’s grandson, Fred, ostensibly to solve a few of the lingering mysteries about his mother’s life. She’s left little money, ran a boarding house under the table and may have had a secret lover whom she visited every weekend.
But Will’s also trying to find his own place now that his life has changed so dramatically. He might even decide to move back to England. Fred, on the other hand, is considering coming to Canada to get his PhD.
Though Wright is best known as a crime writer (his novel The Night The Gods Smiled won the Arthur Ellis Award), the mystery element in Finding Home is secondary. The essence of the book lies in what the two men talk about during their drive. Will describes everything in meticulous detail but, as a counterpoint, offers a travelogue about Canada for rapt listener Fred.
This gives Will the chance to rant about all the things that bug him – or give him pleasure – about our country. He’s a fascinating character, a man who’s lost his wife and mother yet seems remarkably sanguine about it all. An easy read from an engaging writer.