Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: Twenty-six

by Leo McKay Jr.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was the One Book Nova Scotia title for 2012 and is based on the story of the Westray Mine disaster.

The story centers on the sons of Ennis and Dunya Burrows and the women they love. The story jumps back and forth in time, circling around the mine disaster which kills 26 men. Most of the story happens in the small (fictional) Nova Scotia town of Albion Mines, but Meta, the girlfriend of younger son Ziv, is living in Japan so her part of the story is there. How the place they come from, and the people they come from, shapes each of the characters is a big part of this powerful novel. 
I liked the style of the writing, it suited the subject matter and was just poetic enough to lend emotional weight to the events without seeming out of place in the mouths of the characters.

"Ziv remembers a geometrical figure he studied in grade 12 math. Its called a hyperbola. It consists of two curves that never intersect, that move endlessly away from each other. As a student it took him several days to grasp the idea that these two curves that never touch are not two objects, but that they form one shape, a shape that can be expressed in a single formula. This is what brothers are: non-intersecting curves that form a single entity." (p.374-5)

This was an excellent book. It didn't quite make it to 5 stars for me because I felt like the women in the novel, especially Dunya, were not as developed as they could have been. The father and sons are strong, complex characters, but more back story and a look into the thoughts of the mother was lacking and I felt like the stroy needed that perspective.

This book counts toward my Canadian Book Challenge

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