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Loren Mastracci

1/2 III Ray Robertson of 5

I Was There the Night He Died Biblioasis “A novel is one long delicious scratch that makes the itching stop for good,” is one of the valuable insights provided by Ray Robertson in his newly released book I Was There the Night He Died. After his 2011 book, Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live, which was shortlisted for the Hillary Weston Writers Trust and nominated as one of The Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of 2011, Robertson comes back with a new novel that filled with promise. This book is a refreshing read that will surely please even the most finicky readers. Set in Chatham, Ont., the novel is local enough to be close to the hearts of Windsorites, and to gain their complacency. Robertson might as well be writing of Windsor, and any Windsorite can identify himself/herself with the town’s residents.

The novel focuses on the uncommon friendship between Sam Samson, a Toronto novelist, and Samantha, a teenage girl with one too many problems. Sam is “real fucking sad” since his wife (and dog) have recently died: “Without a dog at the end of the bed cramming your feet and a woman to fight with over the blankets, a bed can be a very uncomfortable place.” So true, in case you haven’t experienced it. Sam goes to Chatham to take care of family business. His father is consumed by Alzheimer’s in a care facility and risks eviction because of Uncle Donny’s problematic gambling with the family’s money. Loneliness and pot is what brings them together, and they build a constructive relationship. The characters are well developed and Sam offers us his wisdom as he tackles the problems that life has thrown his way. Published by Biblioasis, I Was There the Night He Died should definitely be added to your list of Canadian books to read.

Volume 1, Issue 8 - March 26, 2014  
Volume 1, Issue 8 - March 26, 2014  

In this issue: The Urbanite sits down with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, searching for the best absinthe, ethnic eats open downtown, Windsor inven...