Other books byPaul Quarrington
One morning in Don Mills, Phil and his brother Jay agree to let their friend Norman Kitchen tag along on an adventure down into a ravine — and what happens there at the hands of two pitiless teenagers changes all their lives forever. Years later the horrifying details are still unclear, smothered in layers of deliberate forgetting. Phil doesn’t even remember the names: Ted and Terry? Tom and Tony? It’s only when he descends into a crisis of his own that he comes to realize that perhaps, as he drunkenly tells a crisis line counsellor, “I went down into a ravine, and never really came back out.” The Ravine is Phil’s book — we read it as he types it, in the basement apartment he’s called home since his wife kicked him out for having an affair with a make-up girl. As he writes, and then corrects what he’s written, we hear how he went from promising young playwright to successful, self-hating TV producer. We listen in on his disastrous late-night phone calls, and watch his brother (once a brilliant classical pianist) weep to himself as he plays Ravel and Waltzing Matilda in a desolate bar. The Ravine tells us all about the influence of The Twilight Zone on Phil’s work and his life — how it helped him meet his wife Veronica and then lose her, and how it led to the bizarre death of his friend, TV star Edward Milligan. Sometimes, when Phil’s drunk, a friend will look at what he’s written so far and call him on it — like when Jay tells Phil that he’s remembered it all wrong: that he was just as good as Phil at tying knots back when they were in the cubs. Phil’s “ravine” is his attempt to make sense of things, to try to understand how everything went so wrong just as it seemed to be going so right. But The Ravine is also a Paul Quarrington novel, meaning that it’s hilarious and ingenious, quietly working its magic until the reader is at once heartbroken and hopeful. A darkly funny story about loss and redemption, The Ravine is also about how stories are made — how they can pull us out of disasters that seem too much for anyone to bear — and about how, sometimes, what we need to forgive ourselves for is not what we think it is at all. From the Hardcover edition.
The Spirit Cabinet
After a long, slow climb out of the strip clubs of Europe, Jurgen and Rudolfo have hit the big time in Las Vegas, headlining a magic act as slick as their own buffed and usually half-naked bodies. Rudolfo is content orchestrating the spectacle and attempting to twin his soul with Jurgen's. But Jurgen hungers for more--and finds it in a mysterious collection of magician's paraphernalia that once belonged to Harry Houdini. With the knowledge he finds there, and his own faith in the unknown, Jurgen becomes the miracle worker of the Las Vegas strip. "Darkly comic, deeply sad, and always ironic" (Library Journal), The Spirit Cabinet takes dead aim at the place within us that yearns for miracles. "It is not a book about magicians and their pursuit of magic," wrote Alan Beaton in The National Post; "it is a book about human beings, and their pursuit of faith."
Fishing with My Old Guy
In the fall of 1994, Deval set out to fish the Broadback from the wilderness in search of the big one. He had a particular spot in mind, and neither shoulder-high bracken nor a whirling dervish of a wind was going to stand in his way. With him were fellow fishers Gary, Paulo and PaulQuarrington, that is, who has recorded their adventures here. Does our intrepid fishing party manage to snag the elusive trophy? You’ll have to read this book to find out. Along the way, you’ll find your-self irresistibly drawn into a hilarious and wide-ranging investigation of the art of angling, the mystery of piscatorial pleasure and the love of natureor is that the nature of love?
Cigar Box Banjo
Notes on Music and Life
Award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and musician Paul Quarrington was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer in summer 2009. Looking death in the face, he decided to go out singing, throwing everything he had into his work and demonstrating a creative energy that belied his illness. He performed with his band, recorded two new albums, and completed this eclectic, funny, and moving memoir of a life lived in music and words. In Cigar Box Banjo, Quarrington ruminates on the bands of his childhood; his restless youth spent playing bass with a cult band, and his incarnation, in middle age, as rhythm guitarist and singer with the band Porkbelly Futures. Ranging through rock 'n' roll, the blues, folk, country, and soul, he explores how songs are made, how they work, and why they affect us so profoundly. On stage and in studios from Newfoundland to Nashville, Quarrington celebrates his last year on the planet.