Synopses & Reviews
A riveting story of love, envy, and betrayal set in the dying days of the lumber industry.
Its the mid-twentieth century and the Canadian lumber industry is dying. Only men who are strong in body and spirit, men like Will Jameson, can lead the expeditions to harvest timber in the perilous mountain landscape. But when Will dies in a tragic accident, it falls to his younger brother, Owen, to take command.
Recently returned from military duty, Owen watches his war-hero status quickly fade as he becomes entangled in a triangle between Reggie, the man he saved on the battlefield, and Reggie's wife, Camellia, the woman he desires. As the town turns against him and the logging expedition becomes more treacherous, Owen seems trapped in a destiny full of betrayal, love, envy, and jealousy.
David Adams Richards creates a devastating portraitrich with passion, ambition, and mythic vision of a pre-mechanized time where greatness and weakness hinge on the relentlessness of fate. A compelling work, The Friends of Meager Fortune proves that Richards is one of the finest novelists writing today.
"The latest from acclaimed Canadian writer Richards (Nights Below Station Street; Mercy Among the Children) offers an uneven but beautifully mournful portrait of life in the unforgiving landscape of postwar New Brunswick. Mary Jameson, the widow of a lumber magnate, hopes to stymie the prophecy she receives from a fortune-teller that her oldest son will be powerful and her younger son will bring glory upon the family, but they will be the end of the family. When Will Jameson, the brash older brother, suffers a fatal logging accident, and Owen, the intellectual younger son, returns a wounded hero from WWII, it seems the prophecy may come true. Owen assumes leadership of the family business, but faced with stiff competition, he sends men to fell timber deep in hazardous terrain. Logging troubles, combined with Owen's military service with Reggie Glidden, Will's best friend, and a romantic entanglement with Reggie's wife, touches off a devastating sequence of events. The book's most resonant moments spring from Richards's account of Jameson's loggers. Though undercut in places by a thick colloquialism, Richards's work at its best approaches the poetic nuances of Greek tragedy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Richards clearly demonstrates the vicissitudes of life, how heroes are created, how quickly they can topple from their pedestals, how the scorned can be reviled and then revered." Booklist
"Richards, an award-winning Canadian novelist...can count this new novel among his best work." Library Journal
In his major new novel, Richards explores the dying days of the lumber industry in the mid-20th century. This is a transfixing love story of betrayal, envy, and sexual jealousy, as well as a devastating portrait of a pre-mechanized time, and a brilliant commemoration of the passing of a world.
About the Author
David Adams Richards was born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, in 1950. After attending St. Thomas University, he turned full-time to writing. He is the acclaimed writer of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction including the Governor General's Award-winning Nights Below Station Street, and the Giller Prize for Mercy Among the Children.