Saturday, December 24, 2011

BOOK: The Canterbury Trail by Angie Abdou

The Canterbury Trail by Angie Abdou, 275 pages

Canadian Book Challenge 5; 2nds Challenge

 I've never read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, although I believe we studied The Miller's poem in grade twelve, so I had to look it up a little bit, just to get all the references in Angie Abou's novel. Set in the ski town of Coalton, BC, a merry band of ski-bums, hippies, and red-necks pilgrimage to the back woods for the last week-end of skiing for the year.

The story is told with a cast of characters, and an introduction, with alternating characters the focus. At times, the characters started to blend on me, but the list at the beginning helped. I'm not sure why they blended, because there were all pretty distinct - skiing realtor, pregnant wife, hippie and her girlfriend, the ski-bums, but the snowmobiling red-necks were the ones I had the hardest time keeping straight. All the characters end up at a cabin that is free for anyone, and spend a crazy night together, dealing with their stereotypes and past relationships. And the drugs.

But in the end, Janet did nothing. She simply tried her best to ignore the whole drugged and horny reality that had enveloped Camelot. It all left Janet happy for her age and her traditional marriage, p237

As I was reading, I kept thinking how I just don't get the drug culture. I must be too old! One of the activities the campers try is to have a story telling contest, which is the point of original Canterbury Tales. Chaucer also used the Tales to comment on the class system, and Abdou has the ski-town classes conflicting here - the locals, the developer, the trustafarian, the working class. The plot meanders and is not linear, like the skiers ascending the mountain top, doubling back and taking different routes. Considering I'm not a skier, not a drug-taker, and never really lived my wild, partying twenties, I did enjoy the book. It's a world I know exists, but like Janet in the quote above, happy for my own reality.

Abdou's book, The Bone Cage was a Canada Reads nominee last year, and widely read (in Canada) but I liked this one better, both for its actual story, and for the literary parallels to its famous original.

Canterbury Tales picture above, and information about the story taken from wikipedia.


  1. This sounds interesting! You are reading some really good books this year, raidergirl. Sorry I've been such a stranger, I'm catching up on all your posts now! lol

  2. angie - thanks for stopping by! I wish I was more versed in Canterbury Tales to get all the allusions.

    susan - I have been reading some good books! Come by when you can, Susan, you're always welcome.


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