Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Recommended Reading: Rock Varnish by Barry Kennedy

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Recommended Reading: Rock Varnish by Barry Kennedy

McArthur and Company, 2005

Like Barry Kennedy's previous novels, Rock Varnish is a darkly comic, energetic, and highly entertaining romp, an imaginative invention filled with the daydreams and nightmares of one man's awakening to a past beyond forgetting, a future impossible to imagine, and a present, well, best filled with lies and deception... at least for now.

Writing from his room on Vancouver's east-side, the man — who’d prefer it if we simply called him Smith — recounts a year in the California desert; a year in an Oz-like America where truth may or may not hang out in communities gated against the outside world, in fast food joints, and in the company of a cast of characters as cracked as the sun-baked sands surrounding them.

Convinced that lies might make his dreams come true, the man called Smith concocts a life, a love worth living or dying for, and a longing for reality amid the madness surrounding him.

With much grand humour, and a series of radical, often scary twists and turns, Smith heads on home, having learned at last that man's saddest, shortest, surest road to disaster is to fool himself.

Brimming with the comedy of schadenfreude, Rock Varnish, in a roundabout and curious way, is an homage to the power of No Bells To Toll – Destruction and Creation in the Andes by American anthropologist Barbara Bode.

From the catalogue. Read more about Rock Varnish at the McArthur and Company website.