Country of Cold

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A Vintage Tales Book.

Graduating from high school in a small Canadian town, you are immediately faced with two stark choices: leave or stay. Country of Cold follows the stories of a disparate group of Dunsmuir, Manitoba’s class of 1980, most of whom leave, imagining that life happens elsewhere. They flee to the freedom of the big cities of the world and the far corners of Canada, but many end up feeling rootless and alone, whether as a physician in an Arctic Inuit community, a temporary boyfriend in Paris, or a student in the McGill Ghetto. The characters attempt to unravel the impossible puzzles of adulthood -- searching for answers by hurtling over falls in a barrel, building a boat to escape a teen-daughter-gone-bad, or embarking on an unlikely affair with a two-bit wrestler.

Kevin Patterson won international accolades for his wonderfully observed and moving memoir, The Water in Between. This fiction debut confirms him as a major new literary talent.



It was a Tuesday when Lester came home from work, five in the morning and the sky bled pale in the east, trailer empty. Rhonda gone, gone, gone. Lester sat down on their bed and looked at the drawers still pulled open and the detritus of fast packing. The carpet was flaked with torn paper and the...
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“[Patterson]…has made the leap to fiction with startling grace….Patterson manoeuvres his characters with a considerate, deft touch. These are lonely people trying to persuade themselves they aren't, and Patterson is respectful of their ordinary tragedies and sympathetic to their lush disenchantments.”
Georgia Straight

“A masterful debut short-story collection . . . . The stories are rich in event. . . but it’s in characterizations that Patterson shines, capturing shades of ambiguity, uncertainty and small happines with a deft touch.”
Vancouver Sun

"Country of Cold is a terrific book. Kevin Patterson writes frequently about misfits and loners, but he presents them with such hard-edged clarity and insight that it’s impossible not to think of these people as kin. And whether it’s slapstick hilarity in a prairie Dairy Queen or the dead-serious menace of a winter storm north of the treeline, the writing is always pitch perfect."
—Michael Crummey, author of River Thieves