Keith Kavanagh lost his virginity at 13 to a woman twice his age. He met his girlfriend while pissing on the hood of her father’s truck. He may have almost burned down the North Side of the Cove, his Newfoundland outport hometown, but not even his best friend knows for sure.
Hard-drinking, hard-fighting, hardticket hooligan Keith is the turbulent anti-hero of Down to the Dirt, the visceral first novel by writer and actor Joel Hynes. Following Keith—along with his girlfriend Natasha, and reluctant best friend, Andy from the kitchens and basements of the Cove to the bars of St. John’s and the alleys of Halifax, this is a stark and edgy chronicle of violence, drugs, sex and black humour. Hynes writes with a deft crispness and introspection that carries the authenticity of Keith’s anger and self-destructive adventures. The winner of the 2003 Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Association’s Percy Janes First Novel Award while still in manuscript form, Down to the Dirt marks the emergence of a powerful presence in the new generation of Canadian writers.