Incidents In The Life Of Markus Paul

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Incidents In The Life Of Markus Paul

by David Adams Richards

Doubleday Canada | January 15, 2013 | Trade Paperback

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Searing, brilliant, and tension-filled, this is a foreboding tale about truth, lies and justice--quintessential David Adams Richards.
     One fine sunny day in 1985, seventeen-year-old Hector Penniac, a Micmac boy from a local First Nations reserve, begins his first real job to earn money for university: placing logs in the hold of a cargo ship down at the wharf. By noon, Hector is dead. And his neighbour, a young white man named Roger Savage, is accused of killing him.
     Taking this shocking incident as his starting point, and demonstrating his justly celebrated insight into the hearts and minds of diverse characters, including those most often silenced and misunderstood, master storyteller David Adams Richards subtly and precisely unravels a complex tale about crime and punishment, truth and lies, power and justice, that is at once an addictive mystery, a nuanced portrait of a close-knit community in crisis, and an illumination of some of the still-unhealed wounds at the heart of our country.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 304 pages, 8.19 × 5.49 × 0.81 in

Published: January 15, 2013

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385666543

ISBN - 13: 9780385666541

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– More About This Product –

Incidents In The Life Of Markus Paul

by David Adams Richards

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 304 pages, 8.19 × 5.49 × 0.81 in

Published: January 15, 2013

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385666543

ISBN - 13: 9780385666541

Read from the Book

The day Hector Penniac died in the fourth hold of the cargo ship Lutheran he woke up at 6:20 in the morning. It would be a fine, hot June day. He could hear the bay from his window—it was just starting to make high tide—and far offshore he could see lobster boats moving out to their traps.   Hector hadn’t worked a hold before. He had bought new work boots and new work gloves, and a new work shirt that he had laid out on his chair the night before, and he had checked his jeans pocket ten times for his union card, five times last night and five times that morning. He was far too excited to eat, though his mother had made him a breakfast of bacon and eggs.   “I do not know if I will get on,” he said in Micmac, drinking a cup of tea. “They might think other men need the job more.” He stared at a robin outside on the pole, and then across the yard at Roger Savage’s house. Roger, the white man living just on the other side of the reserve’s line.   “You go on up and try,” his mother said. “Amos said you would get on. You tell them you are on your way to university to someday be a doctor.”   “Oh, I won’t say that,” he answered. But he felt pleased by this. Hector was not at all a labourer. He had rather delicate hands, and a quiet, refined face. But loading the hold with pulpwood was the best work he could do at this time to get some money, and he knew if the men would
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From the Publisher

Searing, brilliant, and tension-filled, this is a foreboding tale about truth, lies and justice--quintessential David Adams Richards.
     One fine sunny day in 1985, seventeen-year-old Hector Penniac, a Micmac boy from a local First Nations reserve, begins his first real job to earn money for university: placing logs in the hold of a cargo ship down at the wharf. By noon, Hector is dead. And his neighbour, a young white man named Roger Savage, is accused of killing him.
     Taking this shocking incident as his starting point, and demonstrating his justly celebrated insight into the hearts and minds of diverse characters, including those most often silenced and misunderstood, master storyteller David Adams Richards subtly and precisely unravels a complex tale about crime and punishment, truth and lies, power and justice, that is at once an addictive mystery, a nuanced portrait of a close-knit community in crisis, and an illumination of some of the still-unhealed wounds at the heart of our country.

About the Author

DAVID ADAMS RICHARDS'' most recent novel, The Lost Highway, was nominated for the Governor General''s Award for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2008. The Friends of Meager Fortune won the Commonwealth Writers'' Prize for Best Book (Canada and the Caribbean). His novel River of the Brokenhearted received immense critical acclaim. Mercy Among the Children won the 2000 Giller Prize and was nominated for the Governor General''s Award and the Trillium Award. He is the author of the celebrated Miramichi trilogy: Nights Below Station Street, winner of the Governor General''s Award; Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace, winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award; and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down.

Editorial Reviews

"David Adams Richards' 14th novel brilliantly scours the conscience of a community. . . . [He] moves deftly between the multiple voices and points of view . . . [and] never fails to capture the right details to a scene. . . . That Richards can consistently bring such potentially mawkish figures to vivid life is just one reason to keep reading him."
-Quill & Quire (starred review)
 
"In a stark, stunning and profound new novel, New Brunswick's David Adams Richards (Mercy Among the Children, Nights Below Station Street) exposes Canada's rawest nerve. . . . the construction of this novel is brilliantly conceived, and flawlessly executed. This is Richards at the height of his powers, which is very high indeed. The word masterpiece is not too strong."
-National Post (Donna Bailey Nurse)

". . . the searing emotion and stirring probity we have come to expect of an author fighting to stave off anachronism's claim to right and wrong, good and evil. . . . the characters themselves, who could have been frozen into moral archetypes . . . attain a welcome level of complexity. . . . Richards's larger picture includes a moral lesson at once topical and timeless."
-The Globe and Mail

Bookclub Guide

1. What is the significance of the poem that serves as the novel's epigraph?

2. "How could we ever get revenge without burning the entire roof off the world?" (36) How does David Adams Richards bring history into this novel? How do historical events matter to the different characters?

3. In what ways is the truth about what happened to Hector Penniac absolute or relative in Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul?

4. Many apparently free and powerful characters in the novel are shown to be controlled by forces outside themselves or other people's expectations of them. Show how this is the case for Amos Paul, Max Doran, Isaac Snow or Joel Ginnish-and why it matters.

5. Discuss the character of Amos Paul. At times Amos seems to be in "over his head" (46), and at other times to be the wisest character in the book. How do you see him?

6. Why is Markus so haunted by the need to find out the truth about Hector Penniac's death? Is his quest ultimately successful?

7. Describe, as best you can, the moral perspective that informs Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul.

8. Which character did you find most fascinating in the novel, and why?

9. Discuss David Adams Richards' approach to telling his story in the novel. Which contemporary writers does it remind you of, if any? Which writers from the past? Why does he tell the story in this way? (Can you imagine it told in an unreliable, first-person voice, for example?)

10. What do the occasional literary references in the novel (to Wordsworth, Fitzgerald, Conrad and the like) add?

11. "Canadians believed truth is democratic and objective and already arrived at." (82) How is Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul a quintessentially Canadian book? What does it challenge Canadians to do or change?

12. What is heroic in this novel? What is sinful?

13. Why is the book called Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul? What other titles for the novel can you come up with, and how would they change it?

14. In what ways is this novel a detective story? How are Amos and Markus similar and/or different as detectives?

15. Why does Joel and Isaac's relationship develop the way it does?

16. "You'll never get it right," Joel Ginnish tells Max Doran. "Not with us." (162) How does the novel describe the distance between First Nations and whites in New Brunswick? Is it ultimately optimistic or pessimistic about their relations?

17. What role do children play in the novel? How are Little Joe and Brice Peel intertwined?

18. Explain the changes in Max Doran's character over the course of the book.

19. "It is not the Conibear trap that kills the beaver, but the drowning that follows." (196, 249) How well does this phrase, repeated twice in the novel, explain the events in the story?

20. "The primary war was between you and you," Markus tells Max towards the end of the book, "or me and me, or my grandfather and my grandfather. Isaac against Isaac. Joel against Joel." (279) Is this true?

21. What do the extended hunting scenes towards the end of the book add to the story?

22. What do the very last words of the novel tell you or change?

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