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Matter With Morris Hardcover – Sep 13 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Phyllis Bruce Books; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 13 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554687748
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554687749
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #129,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 30 2011
Format: Hardcover
David Bergen's description of the flailing columnist, Morris Shutt, contains doses of both bitterness and fondness. Morris has lost his son, Martin, to the war in Afghanistan, his marriage has ended and his writing has morphed into dull diatribes. In the face of such upheaval, The Matter With Morris asks: where does one rediscover happiness and fulfillment? Morris seeks the answer through a variety of channels: via an American woman who religiously reads his column, by reading Plato and Cicero and in the solidarity of a male-therapy group to name a few. Bergen's strength lies in not showing his readers an easy way out, in pulling us in different directions and in leaving us to decide whether or not the protagonist achieves redemption.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 14 2010
Format: Hardcover
Yet another decent novel by Bergen on the subject of the male mid-life crisis. In this story the writer handles the often desperate life of a washed-up prominent columnist, Morris Shutt, with a healthy dollop of introspection, acerbity, and fond regard. Morris has a problem and, it is so complex and dumb-founded that for a good part of the novel, the reader finds him haplessly searching in many directions for the ever-elusive answer as to why bad things often happen to seemingly good people. Shutt is cast as a genuinely caring person, whether through the helpful advice and charity he tenders his readership or the unfortunate stranger. So where have things gone so terribly wrong for the man? Well, like Job of old, he has lost his son, Martin, in combat in Afghanistan; his marriage of twenty years or so is on the rocks; and his writing has gone flat. In other words, the world of Shutt is disintegrating before his very eyes and he doesn't know how to stop it. All the things Shutt thought were fixtures in his life are disappearing faster than the morning dew. So what is the solution? This is where the novel took off for me. For the next couple of hundred pages, Shutt seeks happiness and fulfillment from an eclectic number of places: an American woman who has become infatuated with his column; the wisdom of the great philosophers; a male-therapy group; a prostitute; his estranged daughter; his highly successful but often overbearing wife, and his sanctimonious brother. The answers he gets from them all as to why he has become so stranded are anything but helpful. They are, in fact, pulling him in many different directions with no big purpose in mind but to be caught up in someone else's problems.Read more ›
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By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 1 2013
Format: Hardcover
Morris is a fifty year old writer of a popular syndicated newspaper column. For material he borrows liberally from his own life. He also seeds in the stories of clients of his physician wife ("They were addicted to the material, to commerce, to the comfort of stuff."). This formula works until his life gets unbearably real when Morris gets a very 'American' knock at the door. Those knocking are two representatives of the Canadian military there to deliver the news of Morris' son's death in Afghanistan. A loss made deeper as it was a case of friendly fire.

This is not usually a subject broached in Canadian conversation (or fiction). Yet, it is an important and relevant topic. Morris and family react as many would, they fall apart. Morris spirals in his own unique, layered and fascinating way. Author Bergen writes Morris in an endearing manner even though the character makes decisions that should turn us against him. He is real and his grief entirely believable even when it borders on farce.

Morris the writer is a great observer of human behaviour (as is his creator) but is challenged to turn that lens inward. He is also quite funny, well read, and full of quirks that add authenticity. At one point he muses, "Morris wanted to be Jewish. He imagined that this might have made him a more interesting person...". This was my first novel by Bergen and he employs a style that may not engage everyone. He writes in meaty, fat paragraphs. Bergen's intent is for you to chew on every situation and to consider each carefully selected word. This is a book to read slowly.

The Matter with Morris was shortlisted for Canada's Scotiabank Giller Prize.
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