Breakfast at the Exit Cafe: Travels through America

Hardcover | September 3, 2010

byWayne Grady, Merilyn Simonds

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Breakfast at the Exit Café begins as a personal story-told in alternating voices by two travellers and writers-of a journey by car from British Columbia around the rim of the United States. It soon becomes a journey of exploration. For Grady, whose forebears were slaves who came to Canada in the 1880s, this is a journey through fear, racism, and violence into his own family roots. For Simonds, who grew up a lonely Canadian in the American School of Campinas, Brazil, it is a journey into the heart of the ex-pat promised land, the nation of the American Dream. As Grady and Simonds travel back through American history, they encounter the splendours of the Mojave Desert, the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi River, and the bayous of Louisiana and the Outer Banks, and they experience the impact of geography on culture and of culture on the landscape. Although they are observing America from the outside, they also strangely feel at home. The Americans they meet illuminate a country dissolving in the grip of the Bush administration's final years and inspire them to reassess their-and our-assumptions about that powerful and complex country. Also available in paperback.

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From the Publisher

Breakfast at the Exit Café begins as a personal story-told in alternating voices by two travellers and writers-of a journey by car from British Columbia around the rim of the United States. It soon becomes a journey of exploration. For Grady, whose forebears were slaves who came to Canada in the 1880s, this is a journey through fear, r...

Wayne Grady is one of Canada’s finest science writers and a Governor General’s Award–winning translator. He has authored eleven books of nonfiction, translated fourteen novels, and edited more than a dozen anthologies of short stories and creative nonfiction.Merilyn Simonds lives with writer Wayne Grady in a two-hundred-year-old stone ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.3 × 6.3 × 1 inPublished:September 3, 2010Publisher:Greystone Books Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1553655222

ISBN - 13:9781553655220

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Table of Contents Chapter 1: Vancouver to Astoria Chapter 2: Astoria to Eureka Chapter 3: Eureka to Needles, Arizona Chapter 4: Needles to Grand Canyon Chapter 5: Grand Canyon to Escalante Chapter 6: Escalante to Albuquerque Chapter 7: Albuquerque to El Paso and Back to Santa Fe Chapter 8: Albuquerque to Jefferson Chapter 9: Jefferson to Selma, Alabama Chapter 10: Selma to Athens, Georgia Chapter 11: Athens to anteo, North Carolina Chapter 12: Manteo to Princeton, New Jersey Chapter 13: Home

Editorial Reviews

"The authors have done their historical homework about the U.S., and provide an interesting guide for the ambivalent first-time traveler.""Publishers Weekly""Grady and Simonds, one of Canada's most popular and successful literary couples, travel by car from British Columbia around the southern rim of the United States, with no special agenda or itinerary in mind, but find themselves on a journey of discovery, historical and personal.""Globe & Mail""[Grady & Simonds] take turns, each penning half of the short sections in each of the book's 14 chapters. It's an attractive choice. As they barrel along interstates and winding highways, Grady's smouldering distrust and apparent dislike of the U.S. is literally shoulder-to-shoulder with Simonds's quizzicality and eye for offbeat detail.""Ottawa Citizen""Grady and Simonds…hand the pen back and forth throughout their journey, each taking a few pages to comment on the passing scene before turning it over again to the other…This unusual structure works surprisingly well. There's no doubt we are travelling with writers…And what a complex, fascinating read America continues to be.""Literary Review of Canada""Whether it's the sign of a symbiotic marriage or of seasoned writers crafting a seamless travel collage, the narrative in this road trip through America flows as easily as a new car on an empty highway.""Globe & Mail Top 100 for 2010“Alternating throughout the book, Simonds and Grady's voices are complementary. Simonds writes with an eye for lyrical details, using them as jumping-off points for imaginative ruminations, while Grady's sections are peppered with facts and trivia. Despite the distinctiveness of the two voices, the transitions are natural and effortless…By the end of the book, the story of two travellers has become a journey of another sort: the story of a marriage. And this second journey itself is analogous to relations between the U.S. and Canada. The question in both cases is: How can two very different nations share resources, come to understand one another, and ultimately learn to get along on the road they both share?”Quill & Quire“Whether it’s a sign of a symbiotic marriage or of seasoned writers crafting a seamless travel collage, the narrative in Breakfast at the Exit Cafe flows as easily as a new car on an empty highway. The transitions between travel-partner-authors never feel clunky or truncated, but rather like one long conversation between mates…We benefit from their shared company; we never have to slog through long lapses of existential crises that often arise on long solitary journeys…In Breakfast at the Exit Cafe, Grady and Simonds manage to redeem Americans…In so doing, they also manage to define Canadian identity as something more than just anti-Americanism. Which, in the end, redeems us too.”Globe and Mail""Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds's Breakfast at the Exit Cafe is the result of a spontaneous, improvised drive through 22 states in a Toyota Echo...As they barrel along interstates and winding highways, Grady's smouldering distrust and apparent dislike of the U.S. is literally shoulder-to-shoulder with Simonds's quizzicality and eye for offbeat detail.”Vancouver Sun“Grady and Simonds...seamlessly transition from one writer's voice to the other's. There's nary a duplication of events nor a chronological disconnect in the hand-offs from husband to wife, and vice versa. Even their meditations on people and landscape are complementary without being repetitive...Between the lines of travel narrative they provide potted but interesting histories of places, musings on stuff they buy and the restaurants they eat in, and analysis of the politics and culture of regions...At core, the book presents a series of slices of Americana, as considered and portrayed through Canuck eyes....This is a travel book that travels well.”Winnipeg Free Press