City of Brotherly Love: Book Review

City of Brotherly Love: Book Review

This book review by Mary Hansen first appeared in the November 2012 issue of Life in Quebec Magazine

City of Brotherly Love
By Ned Bachus
Fleur-de-Lis Press
$22.95

The author gives us a most convincing peek inside the heads and hearts of an impressively diverse cast of characters, from an aging waitress with a crush to a divorced lawyer playing super dad.

Brotherly love most often translates to friendship, especially in “Shields,” the story of a rugby-playing pharmaceutical rep called Guv who has failed at everything, at least in his adoptive father’s eyes. The book’s title is mentioned with sarcasm in the story itself, as a rookie team member endures an embarrassing hazing ritual at the hands of his “brothers.” It quickly becomes clear that the title also has a deeper meaning as Guv finally finds in his rag-tag rugby team a sense of community, family, and responsibility that has eluded him throughout his life.

The style is rich and varied, with superb dialogue and images that leave a lasting impression.  Allusions abound—Bachus references everything under the sun, from Shakespeare and Joyce to pop songs and beer commercials. He tends to leave the stories open ended, suggesting rather than spelling out what will happen to the characters and leaving the reader with something to ponder.

Bachus’s stories are expressive inner snapshots of his characters, whose expertly crafted struggles—be they big or small—are met with a dogged determination to survive in a city where sometimes all you have left is a little love.

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Ned Bachus, the author, is originally from the Ste-Foy area of Quebec City and now lives in Camden, Maine, USA.
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Mary Hansen, the reviewer, lives in Quebec City and is an avid book reader.
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This book is available from all good bookstores, this includes AngloStore, the English bookstore in Quebec City at Place Naviles.

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