What if Anne Shirley, the sweet heroine of Lucy Maud Montgomery's novels, was born in 1970 and decided to join a rock band? John Stiles's wonderful first novel answers these questions, in a manner of speaking.
In the grand tradition of the Bible's prodigal son, Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stiles gives us The Insolent Boy.
Our hero, Selwyn Davis, begins his eventful life in rural Nova Scotia, an orphan raised by an eccentric minister and his kindly wife. Selwyn manages to conquer childhood, only to go through his high school years as a misfit. He then falls in love, moves to Vancouver, joins a rock band, tours Europe, and eventually makes his way back home to Canada.
Stiles' writing is unlike any first-time novel in recent memory. His prose charms with its ability to describe small-town characters and big-city slicksters alike, with brilliant dead-pan wit. His dialogue rings with truth that stays with the reader long after putting the book down. This is a Canadian odyssey with a likeable hero, from a young author worth watching.
About John Stiles
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Published March 15, 2001
by Insomniac Press.
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment.