Friday, August 13, 2010

Mountain Souls

When I opened Kevin Canty's Everything to the first page, I was reminded of term papers I had written long ago. Wide margins and double spacing between paragraphs – all in the hope of stretching an eight page paper into ten pages. But I'm doing Canty a disservice by making him sound like a slacker, because the style of printing actually complements his style of writing – lean, spare prose full of powerful silences.

Canty's story revolves around RL, a middle-aged Montana fishing guide, and his complex relationships with the people closest to him. He and June, the widowed wife of his best friend, are bound by their mutual loss, but even after eleven years they seem unable to move forward with their lives. They are painfully self-aware of their shortcomings, and futilely try to fix the problems of the people they love.

But don't be put off – it's not as depressing as it sounds. Canty's minimalist style allows for flashes of humor and moments of redemption. His love of the stark pure beauty of Montana permeates the book, and as his story spans the seasons of a year he paints heartfelt pictures of the mountain landscape and tough and tender people who inhabit it.

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