Four Sorrowful Mysteries
Four Sorrowful Mysteries explores familiar territory – Quebec City and Montreal from 1930 to 1980 – taking the reader on four separate journeys into the lives of four members of one family: James McGrath, the harmonica-playing, devoutly Catholic Irishman, counting on faith and hope to sustain him; his wife Marie-Ange Coulombe, lured from the Saguenay into an English-speaking world, grieving a lost identity and, like Quebec itself, lashing out; and two of their sons – Anthony, grappling with schizophrenia, his illness triggering a turbulent ride through homelessness, incarceration, hospitalization, his violin the one abiding presence, and Gerald, a street-smart charmer, who moves into Montreal’s underworld, his love of money, women and fast cars clashing with his guilt and shame over his homeless brother. All four journeys are intricately interwoven, one reverberant in the other, one having profound and fateful consequences on the other.
Four Sorrowful Mysteries explores the emotional terrain of mental illness and its impact on those affected, and the role of human aspiration in shaping one's experiences in the face of adversity.
Scenes of Childhood
A fictionalized memoir published by Shoreline Press in May 2007
In its substance, this collection of short pieces,spinning fact and fiction into narrative, is inspired by experiences from my childhood in Quebec City. Its title and form are taken from Robert Schumann's suite of piano pieces entitled Scenes of Childhood. In this collection we meet Johnny and Marie-Ange, their marriage reflecting the French-English connection, the flamboyant Francie, Johnny's sister who makes salads at the Chateau Frontenac, and assorted other colourful characters from tavern keepers to priests to grocers, all of whom live or run businesses on Saint-Joachim Street, itself a helter-skelter collection of two- and three-storey tenements where people come and go like buses to and from a terminal.
A novel published by Laskin Publishing, released in May 2013
In this novel, a flaxen-haired cocker spaniel acting as narrator recounts in touching, albeit humorous detail, the story of her life as it intersects with humans, in this case, Harry and Monique, their three children and significant others, and all of the turmoil swirling around them, to which she is the all-seeing witness. Daisy's non-human perspective in a human world touches on the new consciousness emerging in all parts of the planet concerning humans and their relationship to their primal selves and to nature in all of its manifestations.