Friday, November 05, 2010

Biography: Adventures in Solitude by Grant Lawrence

There’s something bittersweet and surprising about Adventures in Solitude (Harbour Publishing), Grant Lawrence’s look back at his “Beachcombers-meets-The Shining” childhood and coming of age in Desolation Sound, a remote part of coastal British Columbia.

Lawrence is an ex-rocker (he was front-man for The Smugglers, well known in Vancouver and environs for a moment in the 90s) -turned-music-journalist, and his debut reads pretty much like the product of such a background, with the blurred clarity and garish colors of eighties direct-to-video.

From the gentle reluctance and gradual acceptance Lawrence feels for the large piece of recreational property in the Sound that his father manages to scrape enough money together to buy “in the middle on a deep national recession,” to the disillusion of an adolescence fueled by rock music and experimentation to the spiritual home-coming of an adult whose ears and heart are filled with the ghosts of other years.

There is a moody light to Lawrence’s prose. One is put in mind of the wit and energy of Mark Leiren-Young (The Green Chain, Never Shoot A Stampede Queen) and though he might lack Leiren-Young’s deft touch, he makes up for it with a dark exuberance so subtle, most readers might not even feel it there. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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