The Ravine
Paul Quarrington
(Random House)
If there’s anything harder than writing a good novel, it’s writing a bad novel well. But it’s this feat that Canada Reads 2008 winner Paul Quarrington accomplishes in his latest comedic romp. A book within a book, The Ravine is egomaniac Phil McQuigge’s attempt to write a memoir. An “enthusiastic amateur alcoholic” and “emotional imbecile,” McQuigge was disgraced out of Canadian television, is separated from his wife and stuck in the mentality of his 11-year-old self tied to a tree in a Toronto ravine listening to a friend being raped.

Quarrington makes it fun to read along as this shallow character with his banal problems tries to wow the reader with deep statements like, “Memory is a funny thing.” McQuigge’s silly literary pizzazz, like writing in a screenplay format, work because the reader laughs with Quarrington the whole way.

At heart, beyond McQuigge’s charming depravity and idiosyncrasies, The Ravine is a meditation on redemption in a world where “shit happens,” memories are lies and evil is everywhere. It’s with Mordecai Richler-like talent that Quarrington puts a smile on your face and leads you into ravines. Quarrington reads at the Keshen Goodman Library Monday, April 21, with his band Pork Belly Futures.


Mike Landry
type: book

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Get more Halifax

The Coast Daily email newsletter is your extra dose of the city Monday through Friday. Sign up and go deep on Halifax!

Recent Comments