Deloume Road (ISBN: 978-0-307-39813-0) is the story of Deloume Road, where a small community of families lives just outside of Mill Bay, Vancouver Island. The story is told through multiple narrators, each with a unique voice and a unique detail to add to the developing narrative. Through Gerard Deloume, the surveyor who explored the area in 1899, we get a glimpse of the history of the community. Through the present-day narrator, wandering along Deloume Road, we get the memories of one significant summer…
The story centers around Matthew, an inquisitive ten-year-old boy who takes care of his mentally challenged younger brother, Andy, and bosses around his best friend, Josh. Watching them is Miles, the boy who lives in a trailer in the junkyard and dreams of escaping his abusive father.
Matthew and Josh take painting lessons from Al Henry, the resident Aboriginal artist, who is waiting for news after his son’s bush plane goes down in a remote area of Alaska. As Al deals with the unknown, he finds himself reading out to Irene, a young woman from Korea whose husband was recently killed in the Gulf War.
Matthew and Andy’s mother, Avril, takes meals to Irene and visits with Al’s wife, Beth, while trying to encourage her sons to play with Miles. The local butcher, an immigrant from the Ukraine, also watches Miles and thinks about his own wife and son, left behind until he saves up enough money.
The story meanders between these characters, never in a hurry, as slowly we piece together more information about each character as they interact with each other. Then Matthew discovers a secret left behind by old Gerard Deloume, and life on the Road changes forever.
Deloume Road takes place in the space of a few days in August. Matthew Hooton has a keen eye for detail, for making each bug and bush in the landscape seem significant to the story. Each character is unique and carefully drawn, and together they form a mosaic of life on the road. The entire book captures the moods of summer—of sitting back and enjoying the warm sunshine, the buzzing of insects, the freedom from school.
Matthew Hooton’s debut novel is a beautiful novel that explores the ways a community is knit together, even when its members may not seem to interact much with each other. We see neighbours watching each other, passing judgement on each other, affecting each other. We see how people reach out to each other and how old feuds last a long time.
About the Author
Matthew Hooton grew up on Vancouver Island and completed his BA in Writing at the University of Victoria. He then moved to England to complete his MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. He has been published in several Canadian newspapers and magazines and has also worked as an editor and teacher in South Korea. He and his wife life in Victoria, BC, where he now teaches at the University of Victoria.
Deloume Road was published by Knopf Canada in 2010 and received the Green & Heaton Prize from Bath Spa University. The Observer called it “A delicate meditation on the cyclical nature of history, and the strength of communities.” For more information about the book, including a preview and an author interview, visit the Random House website.