An epic novel of unrequited dreams and forestalled lives, Red Dog, Red Dog unfolds over the course of one week in and around a small town in British Columbia in 1958, with stories arcing back in time to the 1920s and '30s.
The novel centres on the Stark family. There is Elmer, a violent man with a troubled past; Lillian, who married Elmer shortly after the Depression, and who finds herself retreating steadily into isolation; their sons, Tom and Eddy, now in their twenties, are bound together by the secrets of their childhood years. Unrepentant, Eddy speeds freely along his reckless path, defiant and vulnerable. Tom, a loner, tries to make out of the fragments of the past a story that can explain the way things are. Then one night at a party, Eddy goes too far, and a spiral of events is set in motion, leading to the novel's last, dramatic moments.
Narrated in part by one of the dead infant daughters Elmer has buried, the novel is about hardship and loss, revenge and ancient loyalties, about the sweetness of first love and the power of memory. A richly textured portrait of a time and a place, filled with moments of harrowing violence and breathtaking descriptions of the natural world, Red Dog, Red Dog is a deeply moving novel that explores the legacies of the past and the possibilities of salvation.