Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I’ve spent most of my day today engrossed in Frank Parker Day’s Rockbound. Now it’s over and I’m left staring at the cover (the fisherman’s hands on the cover are unrealistically smooth) and listening to bits of East Coast dialect that are still rattling through my head. (The author does a good job of creating a dialect, but I have no idea how true-to-life it is…)

This book was the CBC Canada Reads winner for 2005--my 2nd C.R. 2005 read this month, coincidentally—and it’s easy to see why. There’s something classic about the story, first published in 1928, reissued in 1973.

I really like the segment in this book where David, the main character, learns to read, which mainly takes place in chapter 8. The first thing he learns to write is his name—and the name of the fishing boats. This would be an interesting passage to work through with an adult ESL learner. David’s hunger for literacy is a compelling one. (I should also note that, the illiterateness of the fisherman in the story was a point of contention for the real inhabitants of Rockbound, since, in letters of complaint written after the novel’s original publication, they claimed to be not only literate, but well-educated folk. –That’s according to Gwendolyn Davies’ afterword.)

I’d also like to point out that, by another coincidence, this very morning in my working through of 52 Women of the Bible, I was reading about Bathsheba, David and Uriah. As already mentioned, David is the protagonist in this novel and the antagonist is….Uriah! Interesting stuff. Except in this case Uriah is the King and David commits no sin against him. Not sure what exactly Day was going for with his use of names, but undoubtedly something was up….

My final memory of this book is that… it’s missing 16 pages! Good old U of T press. Or good old discount Benjamin Books. I’m not sure who to blame, but, near the middle of the book, 16 scattered pages are blank. I was able to continue on with the gist of the story in this section, but I’ll have to visit the library to find out what these missing pages contain—this includes an explanation as to why old Anapest attacked Uriah, and how, exactly, she managed to win the fight.

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