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Deloume Road

by Matthew Hooton

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558437,048 (3.69)13
This is the end of the road, but if you turn around, it's the beginning. Everything is connected, somehow. In the small rural community of Deloume Road, deep in the remote beauty of Vancouver Island, the inhabitants have their individual secrets, their unique anxieties.

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» See also 13 mentions

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A gentle tale from rural Canada that ends in unforeseen tragedy. That is unforeseen unless you carefully pick up signals from the ghosts. An exoskeleton of structure is either clever or lazy. Take your pick. ( )
  Steve38 | Mar 17, 2016 |
Deloume Road centres on the the varied residents of the road of the title, Mill Bay, Vancouver Island. The residents include a Native Canadian, a young pregnant Korean widow, an Estonian hoping for his family to join him, and descendants of the original settlers of Deloume Road. But at the centre of the story the four young boys of around ten years or less, Matthew and his retarded brother Andy, Matthew's friend Josh, and the excluded Miles.

The story, told in the third person, follows the events of a brief period in the recent past, but occasionally looks back about one hundred years to 1899 and the activities of the surveyor Douglas Deloume, whose name the road bears, and interspersed throughout is a present day commentary in the first person by one of the residents whose identity we gradually deduce.

Through the course of the account we learn about the characters, their history, their tragedies and their joys, but the story comes to a fateful climax following the innocent discovery of a hidden item with a history unbeknown to its finders.

The format of the account is interesting, told in very short chapters which in revolving sequence concentrate on each of the characters; often we see the same event from the different perspective of two or more of the residents.

The result is a fully involving read, we really get to know each individual, their worries and fears, and their interactions with others. Most are good hearted and well intentioned, most but not all. All are well drawn, and the boys are particularly appealing, Matthew is a natural leader and charmingly protective of his younger backward brother Andy, delightful in his simplicity; Miles although living with his parents is very much a lost and neglected boy. The story is beautifully told, imbued with a real sense of place and restrained community; pervading much of the story is a tension, a suggestion that something is about to happen, and when it eventually becomes clearer what is about to occur the outcome is never sure until it happens.

The conclusion is relative open, but what especially appealed was a late revelation that added a touch of irony, a sense of albeit tragic justice to a past event as it had a direct bearing on the present. Altogether Deloume Road is a most involving and moving story. ( )
  presto | Apr 23, 2012 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story revolves around the residents of Deloume Road on Vancouver Island. Told in short chapters, the characters are beautifully drawn and the attention to detail in the flora and fauna of the island is just remarkable.
The 4 young boys’ role in the unrolling story reminded me a little of “Stand by Me”/ "Different Seasons". One of them, Andy, is autistic and his role was depicted very thoughtfully and skilfully. The adults range from a bullish, violent father who deals in junk, to a gentle, bemused Ukrainian butcher who has come to Vancouver Island to make a better life for his family….a family he is still waiting to join him. Irene, a Korean widow who is 8 months pregnant, cuts a lonely and desperate figure. The author has also managed to weave the history of the islanders in to the mix. We go back in time to almost the turn of the 20th Century, when Gerard Deloume has bought the land they all now live on. Many of the names mentioned are ancestors of the current residents. Deloume’s compass plays a major part in the story both past and present.
There is a pervading sense of menace throughout the book and you are just waiting for something bad to happen. When it does, it still comes as a shock.
Matthew Hooton grew up on Vancouver Island and his obvious love of it’s history and knowledge of the surroundings serve to make this a much recommended book.
This book was made available to me by the publisher for an honest review. ( )
  teresa1953 | Jun 22, 2011 |
The layout of the story - short chapters (1 to 2 pages) for each character made for a quick read and added a dreamy brevity to the overall mood.

The story culminates with a murder, which instantly put me off, I felt that the slow interlocking of individual tales had suddenly turned into the movie Mean Creek. Not to say the sudden tragedy wasn't foretold. You knew the victims from the start, you just didn't want to see them victimized.

I don't know what kind of reader I would recommend this to, but I wouldn't discount it. I would definitely read something else by the author. ( )
  KilgoreTrout | Jun 7, 2010 |
Deloume Road is a compelling debut novel by Vancouver Island author Matthew Hooton. The book, chosen by Knoff Canada as one of the 2010 New Faces of Fiction, is an escape to the lazy days of summer in a small rural community on Southern Vancouver Island, where kids play in the forests, by the river and bike the gravel roads near their homes that comprise Deloume Road. Hooton's descriptive prose paints a vivid image that is, in a way, timeless. We are presented with hot summer days of thick waist-high grass, arbutus trees, tangles of blackberry bushes and the hum of birds and insects that vibrate the rural air.

The story is a compilation of first and third person point of views of various inhabitants of Deloume Road. The story follows four pre-teen boys: Matthew, his brother Andy, his friend Josh and the outcast, Miles. The story’s characters quickly expand to encompass the adults of Deloume Road and their internal struggles, including: Irene, a recently widowed, pregnant young woman from Korea who fears for the life of her unborn child while being torn between choosing her new home or a return to her native Korea; Al, a Native artist waiting for news of his son's plane that has crashed in the northern wilderness near the Alaskan border; and a recently immigrated butcher from the Ukraine who is trying to come to terms with leaving his wife and son behind in the old country.

While the adults play a role in this story, the focus of the book is on the four boys. The pieces of the story start to fall into place when, one day, Matthew finds an old object with ties to the historical past of Deloume Road. This object will change the lives of the boys forever.

I really loved this book for a number of reasons. As a resident of Vancouver Island, I could easily connect with the setting which was beautifully presented. I found the continual shifts in points of view refreshing and easy to follow. The short chapters made it a great book to pick up is short spurts of reading. Some readers may find the shifting perspectives confusing to follow but I found it really did add to the mystery of the events as they unfolded. This writing style helped integrate the historical chapters, setting the stage for Gerard Deloume's suicide in 1899, and the tie-in to the events about to occur some 90 years later.

A stunning coming of age novel that I recommend. ( )
5 vote lkernagh | Mar 13, 2010 |
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Deloume Road garnered Hooton a prestigious prize for best novel to emerge from the masters writing program at Bath Spa University, in England. For the fledgling novelist, ... , it’s a deserved honour. Not only for creating a magnificent boy antihero, but for artfully sustaining a tale of misplaced honour and a resulting sorrow as old as the woods.
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Back on the road, I thought, How must it be now, and now, us disappearing? And now, us gone? And now, the road empty? - RAY BRADBURY, "The Kilimanjaro Device"
For Dad, Mom and Joel
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A berry-stained ice cream pail with a shoelace for a handle sits in the wheat grass beside Deloume Road.
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This is the end of the road, but if you turn around, it's the beginning. Everything is connected, somehow. In the small rural community of Deloume Road, deep in the remote beauty of Vancouver Island, the inhabitants have their individual secrets, their unique anxieties.

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