Up in Ontario is a story hat moves me to tears yet also makes me burst out laughing.
Right from the first sentence James is testing his reader and promising a family epic. Reminiscent of One Hundred Years of Solitude, he begins with one character and then moves to the life and family that unfolds around them. Rather than 100 years of solitude, James has focused on 30 years of the Dubois family. Gill Dubois is the solitude, or rather he chooses the solitude of his cabin on the shores of Lake of the Woods. A lifelong fisherman and trapper, he can't for love or money give up that life, not for his wife Christine nor for their son Wade.
The characters of Wade and Gill fascinated me. I'm drawn to their maleness, the blood on their hands from hunting, and the guts of the fish. But despite their manly pursuits there is a warmth and humanity to these characters, a tenderness and a wit that should not be underestimated. Up in Ontario is a story about men: their loves, alliances, compromises, dreams and deaths.