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Some Great Thing [Paperback]

Lawrence Hill
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.99
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Book Description

Oct. 21 2009

Mahatma Grafton is a disillusioned university graduate burdened with a famous name, and suffering from the curse of his generation -- a total lack of interest in the state of the world. The son of a retired railway porter from Winnipeg, he returns home for a job as a reporter with The Winnipeg Herald. Soon Mahatma is scoping local stories of murder and mayhem, breaking a promise to himself to avoid writing victim stories.

As Mahatma is unexpectedly drawn into the inflammatory issue of French-language rights in Manitoba, with all its racial side-channels, he is surprised to find that he has a social conscience. Combating his boss’s flair for weaving hysteria into his stories, Mahatma learns that to stay afloat he must remain true to himself.

Populated with colourful characters -- including an unlikely welfare crusader, a burned-out fellow reporter, a French-language-rights activist, and a visiting journalist from Cameroon -- Some Great Thing is a fascinating portrait of a major urban newspaper and a deeply perceptive story of one man’s coming of age.


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Some Great Thing + Any Known Blood + Black Berry Sweet Juice
Price For All Three: CDN$ 43.75

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Review

?[Hill] lures the reader with the sheer naturalness of the hilarious script, while sneaking in telling stories about the sad state of race relations in this country.?
-- The Globe and Mail ()

About the Author

LAWRENCE HILL is the author of several novels and works of non-fiction, including the nationally bestselling The Book of Negroes, Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada and Some Great Thing. He also co-authored, with Joshua Key, The Deserter’s Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq. Lawrence Hill lives in Hamilton, Ontario. Visit his website at www.lawrencehill.com.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars some great canadiana Oct. 1 2001
Format:Paperback
Mahatma Grafton is a university graduate who, having no idea what he wants to do with his life, returns to his hometown of Winnipeg to work for a newspaper. Over the course of his first year on the job, he discovers purpose in his life, with the help of a colourful array of characters, including a welfare crusader, a burned-out fellow reporter, an unlikely french-language-rights activist, and a visiting journalist from Cameroon.
Aside from being incredibly well-written and entertaining, this book is an intelligent reflection of Canadian issues, including race, language, government policy and opinions regarding our American neighbors.
Some Great Thing is loosely connected to Hill's second book, Any Known Blood, which is also a fabulous read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book to Read March 12 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not finished yet--so far very good, I read his book of Negroes, one of the best I've ever read sure I will enjoy this one
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a great book! May 22 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I don't read much but I would like to say that this was a very good book. I read it for a school project and it was very interesting. I like the characters and it never makes you bored. Hope you like it just as much as I!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence Hill, Some great thing. Nov. 19 2010
By F.
Format:Paperback
Une histoire somme toute assez simple mais si bien racontée qu'elle en devient passionnante. Des personnages si bien décrits qu'ils prennent vie et on voudrait les connaître, quand on ne croit pas, tout bonnement, les connaître déja.L'écriture est aisée, claire, tout coule et s'enchaîne avec une facilité qui témoigne du labeur d'un grand écrivain. On voudrait lire tous ses livres tout de suite.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars some great canadiana Oct. 1 2001
By "spaceprincess12" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mahatma Grafton is a university graduate who, having no idea what he wants to do with his life, returns to his hometown of Winnipeg to work for a newspaper. Over the course of his first year on the job, he discovers purpose in his life, with the help of a colourful array of characters, including a welfare crusader, a burned-out fellow reporter, an unlikely french-language-rights activist, and a visiting journalist from Cameroon.
Aside from being incredibly well-written and entertaining, this book is an intelligent reflection of Canadian issues, including race, language, government policy and opinions regarding our American neighbors.
Some Great Thing is loosely connected to Hill's second book, Any Known Blood, which is also a fabulous read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "black" comedy on Canadian culture! Nov. 12 2010
By Paul Weiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While not quite up to the level of his best-selling THE BOOK OF NEGROES, his debut novel, SOME GREAT THING is a perfect metaphor for the future of Lawrence Hill's writing. Just as Lawrence Hill was born to produce superb and important literature, Mahatma Grafton's father knew, from the very date of his birth, that he was destined for "some great thing"! Just as, when writing as a reporter, Lawrence Hill knew that he was destined to squeeze something more from his life, Mahatma Grafton, a young black man, also understood that he must at all costs avoid the cynicism and sleaze of tabloid "journalism" and find a way to write with integrity and self-esteem about those things he felt were most important to himself and to his potential Canadian readers.

One review I read termed SOME GREAT THING a "crackling good yarn". I think it's more a thinking man's noir comedy, a wonderful story of Canadian values and issues set in the context of biting satire peopled by a list of exceptionally colourful characters - a sleazy tabloid reporter who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the story (facts, of course, are beside the point!); a visiting black journalist from the Cameroons whose utter inability to understand Canadian culture and the dynamics of western male-female interpersonal relationships is both touching and absolutely hilarious; and a black judge who has worked hard to rise above humble beginnings as a railroad porter but demonstrates exceptionally bad judgment in his professional life and ultimately retires unhappy and unfulfilled. Of course, what self-respecting Canadian story would be complete without touching on the French language issue, in this case, through the eyes of an intriguing French language rights activist.

Winnipeg, Manitoba is the unlikely setting for SOME GREAT THING, a story that is so many different things - a compelling story of personal professional growth for a young black man struggling with himself and his abilities in the field of journalism; an essay on multiple aspects of Canadian culture but, most obviously, the issue of French language rights outside of the province of Quebec; and some fascinating history about black Canadians and their relegation to subservient, low paid jobs such as railway porters. Last but hardly least, SOME GREAT THING explores some pieces of the ever shifting relationship between Canada and its nearest and most friendly(?) ally, that behemoth directly to our south, the US of A!

SOME GREAT THING is great reading under any circumstances. But it would be especially interesting for those foreign readers who would like to learn a little more about what makes Canadians tick! Definitely recommended.

Paul Weiss
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a great book! May 22 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I don't read much but I would like to say that this was a very good book. I read it for a school project and it was very interesting. I like the characters and it never makes you bored. Hope you like it just as much as I!
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent March 3 2011
By Emily Bronte "San" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a very good book, but I suggest readers try his book titled "Somebody Knows My Name." This book was excellent and won't disappoint. I'm hoping Mr. Hill would write a follow-up.
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