Sunday, August 12, 2007

Read The Canal House

from w
Yesterday and today I read Lee's novel The Canal House - published four years ago but I had not heard of it before. It's an excellent read about a journalist, a photographer, a doctor and the consequences of small decisions. The book has sections based on place: Uganda, England, Italy, East Timor. Obviously the writer knows his settings from personal travel because the detail is excellent. The narrative is well paced and the author is astute about the consequences of civil war, greed, opportunists, 'do-gooders' and non-government organisations. It's ultimately tragic - accidents happen to good people so it's not a sentimental read at all. The title however only relates to one section of the book - a time-out period for two main characters and does not do justice to the scope of the plot and material.

some comments about the book:
Lee's second novel, The Canal House, was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in 2003. The Australian edition was published by HarperCollins.

Kirkus: "Lee spans three continents, mixing high-stakes suspense with erotic intrigue.... A gripping storyline, rich in detail, shaped by a traveler who has talked the talk and walked the walk."

Denver Post: "A story presented in prose so fine it nearly sings, peopled with characters who burn themselves into your mind and heart."

PW: "There's no denying the eloquence and terror of Lee's vistas of contemporary war in the world's more obscure corners."

Included in Book Magazine's "50 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time."

Lee is currently Chairman of the International Freedom to Write Committee of PEN Center USA and is the international representative for that writers' organization.

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