With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It's World War II, and while stationed in St. John's, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and longs to see the world. They marry against Vivian's family's wishes--there's something about Jack that they just don't like--and as the war draws to a close, the couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack's family.
But when Vivian meets Jack's mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her husband gets called into question. They don't live in the dream home Jack depicted, they all look different from one another--different from anyone Vivian has ever seen--and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack's father, he never materializes.
Steeped in jazz and big-band music, spanning pre- and post-war Windsor-Detroit, St. John's, Newfoundland, and 1950s Toronto, this is an arresting, heartwrenching novel about fathers and sons, love and sacrifice, race relations and a time in our history when the world was on the cusp of momentous change.
1. Why do you think Wayne Grady chose William Henry, Jack and Vivian as the narrators? Would you have chosen someone else?
2. What are your thoughts on Jack’s character? Did you sympathize with his plight, with his cool nature, or were you repelled by it?
3. Throughout their courtship and marriage in...
• "An engaging look at when and where true co-existence and polite tolerance dissolve into prejudice and power struggle. That's a fully contemporary issue, and one that's entirely Canadian." The Globe and Mail