Cataract City

Cataract City

A Novel

Book - 2013
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Owen and Duncan are childhood friends who've grown up in picturesque Niagara Falls--known to them by the grittier name Cataract City. As the two know well, there's more to the bordertown than meets the eye: behind the gaudy storefronts and sidewalk vendors, past the hawkers of tourist T-shirts and cheap souvenirs live the real people who scrape together a living by toiling at the Bisk, the local cookie factory. And then there are the truly desperate, those who find themselves drawn to the borderline and a world of dog-racing, bare-knuckle fighting, and night-time smuggling. Owen and Duncan think they are different: both dream of escape, a longing made more urgent by a near-death incident in childhood that sealed their bond. But in adulthood their paths diverge, and as Duncan, the less privileged, falls deep into the town's underworld, he and Owen become reluctant adversaries at opposite ends of the law. At stake is not only survival and escape, but a lifelong friendship that can only be broken at an unthinkable price.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Doubleday Canada, ©2013.
ISBN: 9780385677943
Characteristics: 398 pages ;,24 cm


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Nov 07, 2018

Too violent

Dec 17, 2016

I read this as part of a personal objective to read more Canadian authors and I was very glad I did. It was gritty and dark and well-written. Parts were a little far fetched, but overall, I found the relationship between the main characters interesting and rich and it compelled me to read to the end.

Nov 24, 2014

When I got 70% done, the first vignette felt out of place - like a separate short story only connected to the rest of the book by the characters names - but less than 20 pages later the first section paid off. It was engaging and interesting throughout. A great story about individuals trying to be good people in poor economic times/places, giving up and then trying again.

Nov 09, 2014

The first section is brilliant, and then the plot just became too much.

Jul 31, 2014

After reading the book, I had a feeling I was going to like it because i read Craig Davidson "The Fighter." And i'm glad I was right; what I love about the book was the friendship between Owen and Duncan, and how that friendship gets tested over the years, first being lost in the woods, the love of a woman, one of them arresting the other and them reliving their childhood of being lost in the woods once more of Canada. And after all that... the friendship these two have still remains strong.

Jul 07, 2014

I was attracted to this book by the premise of two friends who lived in each others pockets as kids but went quite different ways as adults-one became a cop, the other went to prison. The bulk of the story is told in flashbacks interspersed with present day ramifications for their individual choices and decisions. Quite a gripping read as you get into the book further. There is a lot of glimpses of what is coming round the corner-though you can't quite see them coming clearly and on more than one occasion I thought I knew what was going to happen-only to be proven wrong, much to my satisfaction.

Jun 15, 2014

Really well written book on the friendship and lives of two boys growing up in the same small town. Both want out and both want to escape the path their fathers have taken. How they try to do this is what makes up the story. Great characters.

ChristchurchLib Jun 15, 2014

"Border town overlooking Niagara Falls is home to men from different sides of the track whose lives will intersect. By the Canadian author whose Rust and bone was made into a very memorable film." Fiction A to Z June 2014 newsletter

Cdnbookworm May 12, 2014

This novel follows two men from boyhood through middle age. The setting is Niagara Falls, Ontario. The story is sometimes told by one man, sometimes by the other. Both boys grew up in Niagara Falls, with their fathers working at the Nabisco factory. Owen Stuckey (Dutchie, then Dutch) had a mother who was a nurse and a father who wanted better and took courses to take himself into a management role at the factory. Duncan Diggs' father worked hard at the factory but had no aspirations for more. The two lived on the same street at first, and became friends through school, both being loners of a sort.
As the book begins, Duncan is getting out of jail after eight years, a term he served after killing another man. Owen comes to pick him up in Kingston and take him home to the Falls. Owen is a cop.
We learn the story of their friendship, their common love for a local wrestler, and the terrible experience they went through as children that both bonded them and forced them apart. Wandering in the woods for days, they were lucky to have survived.
We learned how they found each other's friendship again in their late teens and how, even though they were on different paths, they still found something in each other they needed. We see the circumstances that took Duncan to jail and the role that Owen played in that drama.
And then we find them in the present, with Duncan looking for his lost love, and closure on his prison sentence, with Owen looking for a way to make amends, and gain some closure himself. We learn about friendship and how history repeats itself, and what a man will do when it comes right down to it.
A great story, that I could barely put down.

Mar 14, 2014

Essentially a comic book for adolescents, but without the drawings, and with more narrative.

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