Courier De Bois

Like most good novels, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what this book is about. Or, it might be more accurate to say that this book is about of a lot of things. In this novel, author Bruce Macdonald weaves a complex tale that covers topics such as the meaning of dreams, economic theory, the plight of Aboriginal Canadians and mental health. The story centers around two characters: Randall “Cobb” Seymour, a recently paroled Native of Mohawk and Ojibwa descent and William Tobe, a recent University of Ottawa graduate with a degree in economics. These two men from very different places become most unlikely business partners, selling bootleg cigarettes out of Toronto’s West End neighborhood of Parkdale. Business is good, and William uses his knowledge of economics to parley the money from cigarette sales into bigger and better ventures, making loads of money for his partner and himself in the process. While Macdonald has succeeded in stringing together an interesting series of events here, the real meat and potatoes of this novel isn’t found in the plot; throughout this novel Macdonald develops a host of marginalized and morally complicated characters that demonstrate his sensitivity both as an author and a human being. Although it gets off to a bit of a slow start, this novel is an extremely engaging read, both funny and thoughtful. I would definitely recommend it to some girl I was trying to sleep with by demonstrating my good taste in books. (Thom Bator)

by Bruce Macdonald. $22.95, 247 pgs, Cormorant Books, 215 Spadina Ave. Studio 230, Toronto, Ontario. M5T 2C7, comorantbooks.com

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