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The Retreat (2008)

por David Bergen

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8712309,693 (3.7)14
Set during the summer of the Ojibway occupation of Anicinabe Park in Kenora, The Retreat is a finely nuanced, deeply felt novel that tells the story of the complicated love between a white girl and a native boy, and of a family on the verge of splintering forever. It is also a story of the bond between two brothers who were separated in childhood, and whose lives and fates intertwine ten years later.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 13 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
A well written story centred on an aboriginal teenage boy and caucasion girl's romance, with the expected racial tensions present in Kenora Ontario, and the entry of Lizzy another more mature teenager who comes with her family to the "treat" as her younger brother calls it, to undergo family therapy with her depressed mother. ( )
  CarterPJ | Aug 7, 2012 |
Wow.

The Retreat is the story of Ray Seymour, an Ojibway from somewhere near Kenora, Ontario. He has a, for him, disastrous relationship with school mate Alice Hart, whose white family object. Alice's police-officer uncle is (and remains) bent on revenge against Raymond.

It is also the story of Lizzy Byrd. Her mother, suffering from depression, decides the family should spent the summer at "The Retreat", near Kenora. Lizzy is the oldest child, and has largely assumed the role of raising her younger brothers. When she meets Ray, her 17-year-old self emerges from her responsible "oldest child" self as she comes into contact with love, racism and cultural clashes for the first time in her life.

I know some reviewers say this is a character-driven novel. I think the balance between character and plot was perfectly maintained. The writing is poetic, the characters extremely well drawn, and the story flows better for the depth with which the author has drawn the characters.

Nearly perfect. ( )
1 vote LynnB | Dec 29, 2009 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
This book was not what I was expecting at all. After a rough start (I couldn’t get into the story, which hit too close to home for me) the Retreat quickly picks up and I was quickly enmeshed in this story.

The Retreat opens up with a theme we see in many romances – the girl next door and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. In this case, the girl is the chief of police’s niece and the boy is Aboriginal (Native American). Despite a few attempts by the girl’s family to break them up, the girl keeps coming back for more, but the boy pays the price. The chief of police takes this boy, Raymond out for a boat trip, and only one person comes back…

The story picks up with Lizzy Byrd, a 17 year old girl from Calgary on a trip to the Retreat with her family. Lizzy’s mother went into a depression after the birth of her last child and now 4 years later, she’s found someone who inspires her – the Doctor, a man who “runs” the Retreat for 2 months during the summer in Lake of the Woods.

Lizzy is an interesting character. She’s caught between two worlds – she’s practically raised her younger siblings, so in that aspect she’s a woman…but she also is still that young girl who likes boys and wants to do whatever she wants. She’s also very observant, and she notices the way the adults are acting around her – the Doctor has a hands on healing approach.

When Lizzy begins a relationship with one of the locals – things take an interesting turn and Lizzy gets caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous rivalry.

As I said before, the Retreat was engrossing. The way all the characters came together, the way events played out, it worked. I like how Bergen worked with the racial tension between the Aboriginal locals and their fighting to preserve some land with the “mainstream” Kenora society. It creates a backdrop for Lizzy’s story that is just oozing tension and strife.

The Retreat is my first book by David Bergen and it won’t be my last. B+ ( )
  ames | Feb 10, 2009 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
This was a very intense novel. Highly character driven and sometimes a little slow. No so much a difficult read but definitely not an 'easy' read. The author is a former Giller prize winner, and the writing here does not disappoint. Very poetic. Worth the read. ( )
  sydamy | Dec 28, 2008 |
Quick take: A dense, visceral read. A book to feel your way through, as well as read.

David Bergen's The Retreat offers a very particular sense of time and place (Kanata, Ontario, 1970s), evoking a thrill of recognition and stirring memories of my own childhood summers spent idly by the lake. This delight is tempered, however, by Bergen's honest and unflinching depiction of racism and harm visited upon the First Nations — a problem both historic and ongoing.

Bergen's writing often reads like poetry moreso than prose (I loved lines like: "her spine resembled a column of pebbles laid out in perfect symmetry..."). As this was my first encounter with Bergen's work, I look forward to picking up his Giller Prize-winning effort, The Time in Between next.

In the meantime, The Retreat deserves a second and indeed a third reading. It's a dense book and difficult at times, but the rewards are well worth the effort, particularly if you prefer your love stories marked for tragedy rather than happily ever after. It's one to return to again and again for its nuances, its poetry, and above all, to enjoy a moving story well-told. ( )
  mountebank | Nov 24, 2008 |
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In early summer of 1973 he left his grandmother's house and moved his belongings off the reserve to a small cabin near Bare Point where his existence was rigorous in its simplicity.
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Set during the summer of the Ojibway occupation of Anicinabe Park in Kenora, The Retreat is a finely nuanced, deeply felt novel that tells the story of the complicated love between a white girl and a native boy, and of a family on the verge of splintering forever. It is also a story of the bond between two brothers who were separated in childhood, and whose lives and fates intertwine ten years later.

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