The Line Painter by Claire Cameron
Finished: Nov. 13, 2008
First Published: 2007
Genre: literary fiction
Award: Northern Lit Award
Reason for Reading: Received a Review Copy from Chapters-Indigo Top Book Reviewer Program. Qualifies for the Book Awards Challenge.
I turned off the car and sat still.
Comments: This is a very difficult book to summarize as it is best to go into this book with only the knowledge that the book flaps give. Carrie's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, way up in Northern Ontario. It is the middle of the night and her cell phone is getting a very small, off and on, signal. As anyone who knows Northern Ontario at night there is nothing but thick forests of trees, very dark, animal sounds and no other traffic to be seen. But Carrie does see a large truck slowly coming towards her that pulls over and asks if her car is broke. The man has a menacing aura about him and at first Carrie doesn't want to get in his truck but she eventually does and discovers he is a civic worker and he is on duty, his truck paints the lines on the roads.
Much happens in this story which had a genuine feel of an old B/W classic noir film. There is a sense of suspense and an unnerving feel throughout the book but I wouldn't classify this as belonging to the suspense genre. The book is about so much more. Carrie learns a lot about herself, comes to terms with her past and knows that her future will never be the same. What starts off as a road trip for Carrie ends up becoming the life defining ride of her life.
I really enjoyed this book. The suspense kept me firmly planted on the edge of my seat and as the plot revealed itself I quickly became aware that I was getting into something more than a suspense novel. Though the reader, just like Carrie, never really knows whether her safety is in jeopardy or not. A wonderful portrait of Northern Ontario, small town rural life and the eccentric characters who populate such places. A very satisfying read.