Title: THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB
Author: CRAIG DAVIDSON
Genre: FICTION, LITERARY FICTION, CANLIT, CANADIAN FICTION
Length: 246 PAGES
Publisher: ALFRED A. KNOPF CANADA – A Division of PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
Received From: THE PUBLISHER
Release Date: AUGUST 15, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7352-7482-2 (Hardcover)
Price: $27.00 CDN
Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
When neurosurgeon Jake Breaker operates, he knows he’s handling more than a patient’s delicate brain tissue – he’s altering their seat of consciousness, their golden vault of memory. And memory, Jake knows, can be a tricky thing.
When growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls (a.k.a. Cataract City) one of Jake’s closest confidantes was his uncle Calvin, a sweet but eccentric misfit enamored of occult artefacts and outlandish conspiracy theories.
The summer Jake turned twelve, Calvin invited him to join the “Saturday Night Ghost Club” – a seemingly light-hearted project to investigate some of Cataract City’s more macabre urban myths.
Over the course of that life-altering summer, Jake slowly and painfully came to realize that his uncle’s preoccupation with chilling legends sprang from something buried so deep in his past that Calvin himself was unaware of it.
The Saturday Night Ghost Club is on the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize shortlist. The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize recognizes Canadian writers of exceptional talent for the year’s best novel or short story collection. The winner receives $50,000 and all finalists receive $5000.
Everything about this book is sheer perfection. From the Hardy Boys inspired cover, to the uneven edging of the pages, to the scenes of Canadiana – such as when twelve year old Jake “… was sitting on the sofa watching The Beachcombers…”
Reading this book is like taking a walk through my own Ontario childhood when children actually played outside, when kids could disappear for hours and explore places that today’s helicopter parents would never dream of allowing their bubble-wrapped kids to go. It was a time when “bullying” was just a part of growing up. You had to either submit to it or learn to fight back.
“Suck it up, Buttercup,” was more likely the parental response to any type of bullying during my childhood and that of Jake Breaker as opposed to what happens now – complaining to the teachers, the Principal, the School Board, and anyone who will listen and likely even posting about it on social media.
It was a time when you would have been mortified if your parents got involved. Kids learned to solve their own problems, or they didn’t and if not, they ended up as perennial victims.
Craig Davidson takes the reader back to a time when imagination was King. A time before internet. You couldn’t just Google information about anything you wanted to know. You asked your parents or if you were as lucky as the protagonist, you asked your “Strange Duck” Uncle.
The way the author describes Uncle Calvin is so vivid and so very detailed that readers are able to picture him vividly, from his height. “He was incredibly tall, or so he seemed back then. (I realize now that, at six foot three, he was not quite the fairytale giant who exists in my memory.) To the way he moved – “He moved awkwardly, as though threads were attached to his limbs, trailing up to a novice puppeteer. He claimed this was the result of his nerves failing to stretch down to his toes and fingertips…” To his teeth, hair and even the clothes he wears. Uncle C becomes as vital and real to the reader as he is to his nephew, Jake.
The tale is told through the memories of a now grown up Jake. He has become a neurosurgeon and tells us the story of one summer when he was a pre-teen. It was a summer in which he still believed in ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night.
I was so wrapped up in this story that the world around me fell away and through the amazing talent of author Craig Davidson, I was transported into the story.
It takes a rare and exceptional talent to make me excited enough about a book that I feel compelled to tell everyone I meet about it. THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB is the best book I have read this year, and I have read many.
The descriptive power of words is on full display in this work of Literary Fiction. For example, read this:
“The girl was eight years old … An MRI revealed a mass lodged near her pineal gland … an aggressive form of cancer manifesting in children. She was booked into surgery immediately. My sucker wand transited the lobes of her brain, moving through sticky webs of glia – brain glue, as it is known in our racket – to arrive at the tumor, which lay anchored in her ocular nerve. The delicate procedure was like vacuuming caramelized sugar off a strand of spaghetti. The slightest misstep would snap the nerve and rob the girl of sight in that eye. I removed as much as felt safe before retreating.”
Comparing author Craig Davidson to other authors would just not be fair. It would be like comparing a CB Radio to a Smart Phone. He is in a class by himself and is sure to win award after award for his writing.
I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and I am thankful to them for introducing me to this author. I need to get my hands on anything and everything else he has written. If those books are even half as good as this one, they are books I absolutely must read.
The rating system for books only goes to 5 Stars, but I believe this book warrants a higher rating, one that distinguishes it from all others, therefore, I rate The Saturday Night Ghost Club as 5+ out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
**This book is also available as an audiobook at http://www.audible.ca Click HERE to purchase it online.
*** Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
CRAIG DAVIDSON was born and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls.
He has published four previous books of literary fiction: Rust and Bone, which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name, The Fighter, Sarah Court, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated Cataract City.
Davidson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his articles and journalism have been published in the National Post, Esquire, GQ, The Walrus, and The Washington Post, among other places.
He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his partner and their child.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
WRITER’S TRUST AUTHOR PAGE