By Donna Milner
Sooner than River, every thing used to be excellent. . . . growing to be up on a Canadian dairy farm under miles from the yankee border, fifteen-year-old Natalie Ward is aware little of the skin international. yet her loving, close-knit relatives is the envy of old and young alike within the close by city of Atwood. Natalie adores her 3 brothers—especially Boyer, the eldest, whom she idolizes. yet every thing adjustments one sizzling July afternoon in 1966 while a long-haired stranger appears to be like at their door—a soft-spoken American, a Vietnam conflict resister, who will attempt the family's morals and ideology, and set in movement catastrophic occasions that would shatter Natalie's relationships with these she such a lot dearly loves.
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Additional info for After River: A Novel
Whenever we seemed to get a little ahead, according to her, my father went out and bought more cows or equipment. Still, the only thing I remember her complaining about back then was the lack of a ‘decent family photograph’. I keep the results of my father’s giving in to her lamentations in an old shoebox along with the stray snapshots that I keep promising myself I will someday put into an album. The family portrait was taken back in the sixties, by a travelling photographer. Every September or October, a large blue van, a mobile studio, showed up in the empty lot next to the Texaco station on Main Street.
I wasn’t afraid Boyer would get angry. He was never angry with me. But I hated the thought of disappointing him, and I had just ruined his favourite shirt. ’ He lifted my chin and smiled at me. ’ He handed me his handkerchief. ’ 41 D ONNA MILNER Anyone looking at the finished portrait would smile at the hodgepodge of bodies that made up our family. We looked like we were thrown into a blender and came out in a menagerie of shapes and sizes. Mom and I sat on a bench with Dad and the three boys standing behind us.
26 AFTER RIVER Given my track record, I warned him, I wasn’t a very good bet. ‘If you don’t get married, you don’t get divorced,’ I told him. After two failed marriages I wasn’t anxious to try a third. ‘You just hadn’t met the right one until now,’ Vern insisted. Eventually he wore me down. We met while I was living in Vancouver. Early one rainy morning we ran into each other on the Stanley Park seawall. Literally. We were both about to pass slower joggers from opposite directions when Vern’s elbow clipped mine and sent me sprawling onto the wet blacktop.