Nights Below Station Street Paperback – Sep 1 2009
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David Adams Richards writes about people from the wrong side of the tracks with poignancy and compassion. Nights Below Station Street is set, like all of Richards's work, in small-town New Brunswick, and it begins a trilogy that continues with two other novels set in the Miramichi Valley, Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down. Written in an easy-flowing, realistic mode, this deceptively simple novel explores the day-to-day lives and trials of a handful of concisely drawn, compelling characters. Adele is a feisty girl of 15, strong-headed, entering adulthood in a tumbling erratic rush. Her mother, Rita, who watches children and cleans houses, is solid and hard-working, the pillar of the family, which also includes the father, Joe, a hapless but cheerful drunk, and Milly, a younger daughter. Their familial relationships are complicated by their friendship with Myrrha, who lives nearby in a trailer with her spoiled, chubby son Byron.
One reason why Nights Below Station Street won the 1988 Governor General's Award for fiction (he won the same award for non-fiction 10 years later for Lines on the Water) may be Richardss talent for capturing the everyday speech patterns of his characters. When Adele complains to her boyfriend Ralphie about her Christmas gifts, "This here isn't nothing compared to what I got last year," the reader can easily picture the look of adolescent petulance on her face. In the end, these ordinary people are tested by the various trials of their difficult lives, and while they never end up in any simulacrum of paradise on earth, they do come through their struggles with fortitude and a kind of rough wisdom, their humanity intact. --Mark Frutkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for Nights Below Station Street:
“David Adams Richards has illuminated the human struggle for love and belonging.…”
“Richards depicts his characters with such searing fidelity that we are forced to marvel at his talent.”
–Globe and Mail
“An exploration of the nature of love and the process of redemption.…”
“A warning label should be attached to every copy: You’ll hate for this book to end.”
–Halifax Daily News
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Poor angry, alienated to the point of sickness Adele; her mother, lovely, determined Rita, making the best of her marriage to alcoholic Joe--who just may be one of the most perfectly rendered characters I've ever encountered. One cannot help but love and feel for Joe, battling his demons and temptations that all reside within bottles; stammering, powerful Joe with his big body and battered, but still functioning heart; Joe the unlikeliest of heroes.
There is such a cast of characters in this book; they have their hopes and miseries and they all intersect at one point or another as time eases away unnoticed and fate makes itself felt in every way in the hushed, shattering beauty of a blizzard.
David Adams Richards is the consummate observer, translating his visions into quiet, apparently effortless prose; placing people before us in all their flawed splendor so that we might view the human condition and reflect upon our similarities and differences.
My highest recommendation.
Great character development, but that's about all there is. Cared a lot for the chareacters, but nothing really happens to them until the end.
I had some trouble getting used to his unique style of writing - David Adams Richards writes as if observing his characters and describing their actions and thoughts as if he's from another land altogether. This was very distracting for me, and tended to take away my flow of reading. On the other hand, it was also challenging, in that it made me think about the characters and what their words and actions meant.
The last 20-30 pages are by far the best of the entire novel and well worth the read.