Jonathan Campbell,
(Gaspereau, 2004)

Tarcadia, the engaging story of a young boy coming of age in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, is simply a delightful gem of fine writing by Montreal native Jonathan Campbell.

Michael Chisholm simply glows with realistic pubescence with all the humor and aching that can bring. His brothers, sister and parents, along with all the other aptly portrayed Cape Bretoners, remind me so much of my own late boyhood and of the time spent on Cape Breton near the titular tar ponds.

Beyond the underlying theme of death and loss, the novel also speaks volumes regarding the ecological equipoise of the steel mills, the coal mines and national pride. Campbell's descriptions of the cityscape of Sydney are also spot on and make me long to visit that city again. Gaspereau Press has packaged this delightful book attractively, too. It's Canadiana at its sparkling best.

by Stephen Richmond
12 November 2005

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