Winter Dark

I just finished David Adams Richards’ book Lord Beaverbrook. It’s an interesting read – you’ll get through it in no time – it’s a short 180 pages or so. It is already discounted on Amazon. You can pick it up for $16 + shipping. I recommend it.

But it is well worth it. It’s kind of creepy but there was one passage where Richards’ talks about the “winter dark” as a description of New Brunswick. I was going to quote that passage here but when I googled “winter dark”, I came across another fine writer and his take on the Beaver book. From Jacques Poitras’ review of the book in the Globe and Mail:

“Richards identifies with Beaverbrook, who he says was always seen as an outsider by the British elite he’d managed to penetrate. “I came from that winter dark, that backward province too,” Richards writes. “I grew up two blocks from Max’s old home, roamed the same streets at night. I took in the same offices of adventure, and displeased the same kinds of people, and made my way in a world that was as often as closed toward me as his was toward him.” Richards bore for years a well-known and justified resentment against the Canlit establishment that long considered him a “regional” author, but surely it is a stretch to let this parallel obscure Beaverbrook’s wickedness. Somewhere, the old man is smiling, pleased that his considerable charms have worked their magic yet again”.

That, in a nutshell, is what I would have said (better prose). So, forgive the little plagarism.

But the bottom line is that despite all the puffed up boastings of Premiers and Ministers, New Brunswick is still very much a winter dark with communities losing population, with industries in decline, with many of our best and brightest leaving for greener pastures.

George Donovan has a little Max Aitken in him. Miramichi boy. Successful by his early 20s. Wheeling and dealing in New York by his late 20s. Feisty, sometimes cranky. Unlike the Beaver, he is trying to make is fortune in New Brunswick. I wish him well. As we debate on and on about what is an entrepreneur, it is true the Miramichi has punched out a few over time.

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