By Sara Wilson
Keeping to the personal tone of Great Big Sea’s front-man Alan Doyle’s first novel Where I Belong, his follow-up, Newfoundlander in Canada, presents the portrait of a rocker from a small fishing village experiencing the diversity and wonder of the Canadian mainland.
“A Newfoundlander in Canada is really a journal-like account of my earliest trips across Canada,” Doyle said on his Facebook page. “It tells the story of what the vast and varied country of Canada looked like to me, a fella from the far, far east of the country who’d never really been anywhere but Home.”
Armed with the same personable, candid style found in his first book, Alan Doyle turns his perspective outward from Petty Harbour toward mainland Canada, reflecting on what it was like to venture away from the comforts of home and the familiarity of the island.
Often in a van, sometimes in a bus, occasionally in a car with broken wipers “using Bob’s belt and a rope found by Paddy’s Pond” to pull them back and forth, Alan and his bandmates charted new territory, and he constantly measured what he saw of the vast country against what his forefathers once called the Daemon Canada. In a period punctuated by triumphant leaps forward for the band, deflating steps backward and everything in between—opening for Barney the Dinosaur at an outdoor music festival, being propositioned at a gas station mail-order bride service in Alberta, drinking moonshine with an elderly church-goer on a Sunday morning in PEI—Alan’s few established notions about Canada were often debunked and his own identity as a Newfoundlander was constantly challenged. T
“Combine with that, the fact that this fella was seeing the country, the one his family had only recently joined, out the window of a band van as a folk-based quartet tried to bring the music of an Island in the middle of the sea to the mainland of Canada, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, ” Doyle said.
Doyle’s book signing event at Bolen Books is free to attend and takes place at 2 p.m. For more information visit www.bolen.bc.ca.