PEI Guardian review of Tailings of Warren Peace
"Tailings of Warren Peace" by Stephen Law (Roseway Publishing-Fernwood Publishing, $19.95.) works on several levels, though it's written in plain clear English and could be read by any ordinary adult reader. On one level it's a mystery; who is putting phrases of a narrative on slips of pink paper, and sticking them on lampposts? And what is Magma International, a gold-mining company, hiding?
On a second level, this is the story of how Warren Peace, from a mining family in Cape Breton, but now living in Toronto, becomes drawn into a group of activists, and eventually goes to Guatemala with one of them to see what they can find out about her sister.
And on a third level, the novel is about Magma, how it operates, and what happens to people who want to find out more about it or even resist it.
All these levels are put together to make a coherent, almost prismatic, story. And it's a frightening one, all the more because it's founded on fact. Yet it's not sensational. It's told in sober, often understated language. The ending is ambiguous; Warren is changed for the better, but is still very much an activist; Meena, his Indian girlfriend, struggles on with her legal inquiries; and Celina, the Guatemalan girl, has not decided whether to return to Canada or to stay on in her dangerous home.
One of the best novels of 2013.
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