Big Town

Big Town

A Novel of Africville

Book - 2011
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Seventeen-year-old Early Okander lives with his father in a shack, a white family on the outskirts of the Halifax community of Africville. It is the early 1960s, and Early and his young friends, Toby and Chub, start to hear whispers that the city wants to move the residents of Africville out of their homes. As the three try to sort out what relocation might mean for the community, they also struggle to come to terms with their own problems: Early's abuse at the hands of his father, Toby's illness, Chub's family breakdown.

Written from Early's unique perspetive, Big Town is an unforgettable account of a community in crisis and the remarkable spirit that persists in the face of adversity.

Publisher: Halifax, N.S. : Vagrant Press, c2011.
ISBN: 9781551098548
Characteristics: 233 p. ;,22 cm.

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bookwormabc Dec 31, 2012

This book deserves to become a classic Canadian novel, in the genre of American author John Steinbeck "Grapes of Wrath". Although it takes place in the late 1960s in Halifax, the racism described feels as if it should have taken place in a much earlier era. It caused me to read more about Africville; the novel is unfortunately realistic in its description of the slum called Africville in the heart of Halifax. The novel is written through the eyes of a developmentally-disabled white boy who lives in Africville with his abusive father. This literary device prevents the book from being preachy; it is very readable. But one is left with the question as to how we Canadians have allowed racism to have existed so long.

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