And the Birds Rained Down

And the Birds Rained Down

Book - 2012
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Tom and Charlie have decided to live out the remainder of their lives hidden away in a remote forest, their only connection to the outside world a couple of pot growers who deliver whatever they need that they can't eke out for themselves. But one summer two women arrive. One is a young photographer documenting a series of catastrophic forest fires that swept Northern Ontario, and the elderly aunt of the one of the pot growers appears, fleeing the psychiatric institution that has been her home since she was sixteen. She changes her name to Marie-Desneiges and joins the men in the woods.
Publisher: Toronto : Coach House Books, 2012
Edition: 1st English ed
Description: 157 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 9781552452684
Branch Call Number: Sauc


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Jun 23, 2017

This is a beautiful and engaging book dealing with grace, death and love.

I started in an afternoon bath and finished the next morning in bed, the story unfolds and your eye and heart catch every delicious drop.

May 24, 2017

The Great Matheson Fire of 1916 that rampaged through northern Ontario left in its wake tales of horror and hope. One involves Ted Boychuk who some say was killed, while others are sure he survived and continued to roam throughout the north. A photographer is trying to record images of all those who survived and is in search of hermits she has heard of, hoping that among them is Boychuk, her last subject. She finds them and is told he is 'dead and buried... just reached his expiration date.' His friends, Tom and Joe, are in their nineties and exist on very little with a bit of help from Steve, a hotel keeper, and Bruno, a marijuana farmer. What follows is a telling of the upheaval that results after the photographer, and later Bruno's aged aunt Marie Desneiges enter their lives. How they deal with all this, knowing and accepting that Death is just around the corner for them is the challenge. This is an intriguing tale with subtle twists of friendship, love, coincidences, and survival told in a very sympathetic manner. There is not a lot of real action but you are still carried along wanting to know how they all feel; how they react to each other; what they see as their future.

Dec 05, 2016

A truly beautiful piece of work. So much has been written and said about this book, not least of it during the live televised Canada Reads debates. Of the five finalists that year, I personally love this one the best.
It is in every sense a celebration of life:; a stolen life reclaimed after sixty years of unspeakable injustice; lives grasped uncompromisingly by two old men on their own terms; life arising out of fire and ashes, re-created by a set of paintings even after the artist had died; life tentatively reached for at the end by a woman who had spent all her days exploring the lives of others because she seemed to lack a life of her own. Death hovers at every episode, peeking around every page, for most of these people are very old, so death is no stranger and holds no terrors for them. But it is life that triumphs!

brianreynolds Jul 05, 2015

Jocelyne Saucier's And the Birds Rained Down posed an interesting question about the right to chose one's time of death; she set her novel in a place that is of special personal interest to me; the potential for interest in bush fires and pot raids seems pretty great to me. I can't help but feel like I missed something. I felt no intellectual or emotional involvement in the right to life issue as it was presented nor did it seem to play any significant role in the plot. While the anecdotes about the 1916 fires in the Cochrane District were anecdotal, they didn't drive the story; instead, they drove the sometimes-narrator. They didn't move me anywhere close to the edge of my chair. Perhaps size matters. Were this a shorter work, it all might have seemed more poetic. Were it longer, it might have involved this reader more.

Jun 14, 2015

A compelling read - loved the sense of place and the quiet storytelling.

May 08, 2015

I can't think of any reason to recommend this book to others. The only reason we're writing about it is because it was a CBC "Canada Reads" pick.

Apr 27, 2015

Very good read. Interesting and unusual story premise, believable characters, wonderful atmosphere. Really enjoyed it.

Mar 15, 2015

A short novel translated from French into English is up for the 2015 Canada Reads competition. It deals with aging and choosing to live or die on one's own terms. It is set in a remote part of Northern Ontario.

Aug 06, 2013

Highly recommend this very evocative Canadian historical novel, beautifully written and translated and based on a real fire in northern Ontario.

Norman C. Smith
Jun 09, 2013

This is a superb book, poetically descriptive, with no words out of place. Read it!

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