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Westsiders (Stories from old Corner Brook,…
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Westsiders (Stories from old Corner Brook, Newfoundland)

by Tom Finn

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am a Western Canadian. I have never travelled further east in Canada than Montreal. This book helped me to learn more about other parts of Canada.

But one thing I needed to keep in mind is that in the 1940s, when most of these stories take place, Newfoundland, if I am not mistaken, was still making transition to becoming one of the Canadian provinces. Some of the characters make mention of this.
Mention is also made of American armed forces being stationed on our soil. Does that mean the stories only took place prior to the cessation of World War II, or did some bases with American soldiers keep going into peacetime?
I guess I could do some of this research, but it is not really necessary in order to enjoy the stories.

The story of the boy who mourns his deceased brother reminds me of the tale of the prodigal son from the Bible. This is an alternative ending because the father never kills the fatted calf. Apparently there was never a reconciliation between the wastrel brother and the father, or at least the stay-at-home son never lets on to such potential details of the history.
That is the great joy of a style of writing where the author keeps you guessing. Are the facts that we have been given comprehensive? What omissions if any are crucial? Do some characters lie?
On the surface, the stay-at-home son seems quite upstanding. On the surface, it seems like the prodigal son never tried to fix his errors. But there could be some missing details.

A mature couple who is concerned about the reluctance they perceive the young people to have in courting and pairing off results in an informal attempt at match-making. A young bank clerk (the man) and a young store clerk (the woman) are brought together and seem to hit it off quite well. Can a good beginning run off the rails? If so, why would such a thing happen? Are the things that we see from the outside (consecutive dates to the movies or for a walk, the purchase of an engagement ring, an emotional first kiss) automatically showing that the marriage proposal will be accepted and a marriage take place? Maybe. Maybe not.

I was very satisfied with reading this book. Very well done.
  libraryhermit | Mar 19, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a LT Early Reviewers win.
This is a case of 'write what you know', and it works. Author Tom Finn is from the small corner of Newfoundland where these stories are set. As I started the first story I felt that would be a problem because it seemed a little too region specific. The places, the jargon etc could have been a drawback. But less than halfway through the first story I realized I was caught up. Those things made the stories work in a way more generic stuff could not. The language made the people real and all were well fleshed out characters.
The authors smooth style in laying this down engaged me fully. I began to enjoy the people and their place. The final story, "Squeek Arrives" was the only one that seemed slightly out of place. This made me enjoy it as well since it showed the authors ability to diversify. All in all a well put together collection. Recommended ( )
  jldarden | Jan 12, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Westsiders, by Tom Finn, is a collection of short stories set in Newfoundland during the 1940's and 1950's . The stories are well written and provide a window into the lives of interesting characters.

I received this book free through Library Thing Early Reviewers and I give this review of my own free will. ( )
  SAMANTHA100 | Jan 8, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a collection of short stories about daily life in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada, set in the middle of the last century. The stories present a quick glimpse into the daily life of citizens, who are going about their daily business. Nearly all of the stories have little or no deep plot, just a sort of stream of consciousness of the characters. While well written, the stories really present life as perceived by a very focused audience, and most likely of interest to the same. I am not sure what the aim of this book was, other than to provide a glimpse of everyday life. I think the book would appeal to a limited audience because of its underlying theme of life in small town Canada. The stories are quite pleasant, just not very exciting or relevant to a lot of what we experience today I the US. Unless the reader is looking for a quick look at life in a small town in Canada during the middle art of the last century, I don’t think this book will be very appealing. Of course, it is documents such as this one that helps preserve what life was like there and then, so it does serve its purpose. I received this from Library Thing to read and review. ( )
1 vote KMT01 | Sep 7, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Newfoundland is certainly a unique place, as are the natives, but while unique they and the stories are enjoyable and thought provoking something I've found typically Canadian even in this era. The stories are set in the 1940's to 1960's; so are dated in many ways but remain enjoyable. I want to thank the author and ER for making the pleasure of reading these stories available. ( )
  dmclane | Aug 14, 2013 |
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What a night, what a night!” Sergeant Harry Burns of The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, amateur thespian and raconteur, cleared his windpipe theatrically, gave his audience a long heavy wink of the right eyelid, and began to read from the night-shift occurrence book, over which he first made a small sign of the cross and then raised mockingly to his lips. Sergeant Cyril Short and Constable Art Bugden exchanged resigned glances and sipped at their cups of boiled black tea.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0968578462, Paperback)

In Westsiders, Finn gives us sketches from the social fabric showing the subtle influence of the American presence in Newfoundland in the 1940s and 50s. In the tradition of James Joyce and Stephen Leacock, yet emergent from the rocky soil of Newfoundland, psychology and philosophy is bound up in the day-to-day lives of those who lived in old Corner Brook West and beyond: -- drama, relationships, desire and delusion.-- Behind these ardent, tragicomic lives there emerges, like a ship in the mist, a recognition of ourselves. Before joining Canada in 1949, Newfoundland was a British colony. Corner Brook West was the old town, whereas the new Townsite was established to house workers and services for the Amercan papermill.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:29 -0400)

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