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"Unfolds with the complexity and emotional richness of a life actually being lived...takes chances with structure and characters...a sublime novel."
Heroes tells the story of Peter Bayle - heavy drinker, philosopher, scholar, and anemic lover - as he visits a town in Kansas to write a story for Toronto Living magazine about the newfound love of middle-America for the quintessential Canadian game of hockey. During his research Bayle encounters a host of odd characters: a morphine-injecting reverend, a shunned reporter and his former crack-addict girlfriend, and a drug salesman with his sights set on a career as a cable mogul.
The article never gets written, and as Bayle becomes more and more involved in the destructive behaviour of the friends and enemies he has made, his problems back home continue to build. His assignment long-since abandoned, Bayle returns to Toronto to face a future he does not want. It is a future obscured by a past he can't let go of, but which he also can't come to terms with.
Let's talk. All right, I'll talk. I'll talk and you'll listen. You've done enough talking for a lifetime, anyway, and I guess I could use the practice. I've had one drink and I'm going to have another, but even if I have just one more after that I'm not going to get drunk. Dark wood panelling covering these walls; plenty of pistachios and smoked almonds gratis all along the length of this oak bar; every bent elbow in here covered in serious shades of sober grey tweed: this just isn't that kind of place.
But even if it was that kind of place I don't want to get drunk. What I want is to get a little bit tipsy and feel the wiggle of my toes in my socks in my shoes and breathe a deep after-work breath and on the way home pick up a Vegetarian Deluxe Pizza from Papa Ciao's and eat my dinner in front of the game on television tonight. I'm a vegetarian now, you know. And no, all those lectures you used to lay on the old man and mum and me every night at supper on the systematic mass slaughter of our fellow animal friends haven't finally managed to sink in after all these years. For me, it's just a health thing. I mean, talk to any scientist worth his test tubes and he'll tell you that too much animal flesh in your diet is like eating pure poison. So wipe that grin off your face, little sister, for me it's all about doing what just makes sense.
Anyway, the hockey game starts at 7:30 and I've got to stop off and pick up that pizza, but I've got some time. Maybe now's not when we ought to finally sit down and say all the things that should have gotten said already, but it looks like it's the best I can do. Tough luck for you, I guess, but I'm the only brother you're ever going to get. Too little or too late, we're stuck with each other, Patty. Me and you. Stuck. So let's talk. And let me call me Bayle and you I'll call Patty. Because, to be honest, I'm just not ready for that naked "I" all by itself just yet. But then I was never even half as brave as you. I'm not even sure if I ever want to be.
But the game doesn't start for another couple of hours and it's nice and dark and quiet in here and at least we're finally really going to talk, so who knows? Maybe there's time yet for you to teach your big brother Peter a thing or two about being brave.