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Nature Essays


And Other Essays

by (author) David Adams Richards

Doubleday Canada
Initial publish date
Oct 2019
Essays, Essays, Essays
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2019
    List Price

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A thrilling, revelatory collection from one of the most provocative and original literary voices in Canada today.

David Adams Richards is one of Canada's greatest writers, his place in the pantheon ensured by seventeen novels of consistent power and vision. He is also the author of four marvelous non-fiction ruminations on religious faith, hockey, hunting and fishing and their roles in his and the nation's identities. His loyal readers may feel they know him well. But they also know that this is a writer who never fails to surprise. This new collection of essays--his first in a quarter-century--is rich with revelations and insights, deepening our appreciation for this major talent and offering a provoking thought on every page.

Murder is one of David's great subjects. In his novels, in the Russian classics he loves and in his life, murder has been a shaping force. The title of this volume refers to a suite of essays on the subject: a hitchhiker with whom David strikes up an unnerving philosophical debate; the killers of the Miramichi and their victims; Caligula; the villains of Russian literature; and, forever in David's mind as he examines this grim topic, the self-deception involved in the allure of evil.

But in this wide-ranging collection there is much to delight in too: married love; family; travel; the beauty of the natural world; even Wayne Gretzky is invited to the party. David's principled outlook and spirituality inform his thinking thoroughout. And he draws many of his favourite writers into the discussion--from Tolstoy to Dostoevsky, Mary Shelley to Alden Nowlan--revelling in their work, as we do in David's, as sources of ideas, inspiration and sheer literary pleasure. As a considerable bonus, the book also contains at its midpoint a literary debut: a slim but substantial collection of David's poetry.

About the author

David Adams Richards was born in Newcastle, New Brunswick. His celebrated body of work has earned numerous awards and accolades to date, most notably for his prose, poetry, novels, and screenplays. All examine the fundamental conflict between individual conscience and truth versus community, history, and perceptions.

Adams Richards recent novels include River of the Brokenhearted (2003), a depiction of a family whose fortunes rise and fall with the success of its movie theatres, The Friends of Meager Fortune (2006), an exploration of the dying days of the lumber industry, which won the Commonwealth Prize (Canada and the Caribbean), and The Lost Highway (2007), a suspenseful story of greed, betrayal, and Murder. Lines on the Water, about fishing on the Miramichi, won the Governor General’s Award for non-fiction in 1998, making Richards one of a very select group; he is only the third person to win Governor General literary awards in two different categories. The first novel in his Miramichi trilogy, Nights Below Station Street, received the Governor Generals Award for fiction in 1988. Mercy Among the Children was co-winner of the Giller Prize in 2000. It has also won the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award for both novel of the year and author of the year in 2001.

David Adams Richards, né en 1950 à Newcastle, au Nouveau-Brunswick, est un auteur prolifique : il a fait paraître treize romans, un recueil de nouvelles ainsi que trois essais. Son succès critique et commercial ne cesse de s’accroître. Le roman Road to the Stilt House a été mis en nomination pour un Prix littéraire du Gouverneur général en 1985, et en 1988 l’auteur recevait cette même distinction pour Nights Below Station Street, premier volet de sa trilogie du Miramichi. Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace a été primé par la Canadian Authors Association en 1991, et trois ans plus tard, For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down a valu à Richards la récompense littéraire Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize.

Les œuvres plus tardives de Richards sont tout aussi bien reçues par la critique. En 1998, son essai Lines on the Water sur la pêche à la ligne dans le Miramichi est honoré du Prix du Gouverneur général, et il se place dès lors au sein d’un groupe enviable : il est seulement le troisième auteur à obtenir la prestigieuse récompense dans deux catégories. En 2000, Mercy Among the Children [La Malédiction Henderson] remporte ex aequo le Giller Prize et, en 2001, la Canadian Booksellers Association récompense Richards du Prix Libris dans les catégories roman de l’année et auteur de l’année. Parmi ses romans les plus récents, on compte River of the Brokenhearted (2003), les hauts et les bas d’une famille au fil des succès et des défaites d’une salle de cinéma; The Friends of Meager Fortune (2006), qui explore de la fin de l’ère de l’industrie forestière, qui a valu à son auteur le Prix du Commonwealth pour la région du Canada et des Caraïbes; et The Lost Highway (2007), une intrigante histoire d’avarice, de trahison et de meurtre.

David Adams Richards' profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Murder and Other Essays

"[An] engaging essay collection . . . scathing and funny. . . . Richards's poems [are] both lyrical and sharp in tone. They distill their author's moral vision, ear for vernacular and his too-often unnoted mordant humour." —Quill & Quire, starred review

"This is a fine collection of essays. . . . Their subjects range from religious belief and hunting and fishing to academic pretense and feminism. . . . Mid-book, Richards inserts 25 short poems. . . . Many tell a discernible story—of people, places and times—memorialized in verse. Even if you don't much read, or like, poetry, you're apt to find his offerings accessible. . . . [Murder and Other Essays] whet[s] your appetite for more of the same." —Winnipeg Free Press
"[David Adams Richards'] award-winning novels have repeatedly demonstrated his gifts as a storyteller. These narrative powers are to be found in [Murder and Other Essays], a rewarding assemblage of memory, meditation and—for the first time in a distinguished career—several pages of poetry." —O Canada
Praise for the work of David Adams Richards

"Tragedy and cruelty are rife in the fictional universe of David Adams Richards, one of Canada's most prolific and gifted writers. . . . Crimes Against My Brother is grandly ambitious and beautifully written . . . an astute, compelling and compassionate exploration of the human spirit." —Toronto Star

"I will [re-read] and cherish Facing the Hunter for its melancholy, joyful, hard-won wisdom on hunting, his love of the animals and the people who hunt them and the endangered, magnificent habitat of the Miramichi Valley. That is the genius of this book. Every ecosystem in this country should have defenders as eloquent and wise as David Adams Richards." —The Globe and Mail

"[God Is. My Search for Faith in a Secular World is] a healthy antidote to the know-it-all certainty of the . . . Dawkinses and Hitchenses of this world. Better still, he’s even angrier than either of those famous atheists." —NOW

"[Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul] is Richards at the height of his powers, which is very high indeed. The word masterpiece is not too strong." —National Post

"Richards continues his career-long inquiry into the nature of morality [in Principles To Live By].There is a powerful story here, written with Richards' usual attention to detail and his wholly original approach to both prose and narrative." —The Vancouver Sun

"Richards is as Shakespearean in his tragicomic humour as in his elemental themes of good and evil, hatred and love. [River of the Brokenhearted is] ablaze with . . . the gnarled, powerful and unblinking prose that follows his characters down to their innermost circles of personal hell—and the deep, unfashionable, moral vision that underlies the writing." —Maclean’s
"For 30 years, Richards has been writing deeply moving stories set in northern New Brunswick with the kind of moral intensity that Thomas Hardy brought to Dorset." —The Washington Post

"The Friends of Meager Fortune only cements his name as an author unafraid to paint our history and supposed civility in the glaring colours of a raw and often unwieldy humanity." —Edmonton Journal

"Given his ear for a catchy phrase, Richards might easily have become a balladeer instead of a novelist." —Montreal Gazette