Book Review: Kevin Canty's 'Everything'
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
Writer Kevin Canty may have been born in California, but he now calls Montana home. It's also the setting for his new novel, titled "Everything." Reviewer Alan Cheuse wonders if the book makes good on its title.
ALAN CHEUSE: "Everything"? The title suggests Kevin Canty wants to embrace not just Montana but the entire world, though his characters, as it turns out, just want a little peace and happiness in their otherwise-turned-upside-down lives.
Middle-aged R.L. he goes by his initials is a Missoula fishing guide. He reignites a love affair with Betsy(ph), an old college friend who's in town for cancer treatments. R.L.'s daughter Leila(ph), who knows how to drink and fish, longs for a graduate student who lives over in Seattle, but she falls into a dangerous affair with Edgar(ph), one of her father's employees.
That river guide, Edgar, has to deal with Leila and his pregnant wife. Meanwhile, June(ph), the widow of R.L.'s best friend, finds her way into a small fortune and an annoying affair with a local entrepreneur.
So while all these folks live with what Canty points out are the big views of the nearby Mission mountain range, they're really just keeping their eyes on the immediate horizon of love and good company, if they can keep it.
Still, living under the Montana sky seems to remind some of these characters what an ideal life should be. As R.L. feels it, when driving along one morning and noticing fresh snow already on the high peaks of the Bob Marshall Range, his heart flies out of his chest and up into the high country, his true and secret home.
He feels the presence of his shadow, that other life that was the opposite of the one he was leading, fresh and clean and out in the open. That's the feeling you get while reading this understated and affecting novel about contemporary Montana life.
NORRIS: Kevin Canty's novel is called "Everything." Reviewer Alan Cheuse teaches writing at George Mason University in Virginia.
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