One case where sequel as good as original

Elizabeth Cran
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Sequels to books are proverbially unsatisfactory.

However here is one from Newfoundland, which is just as good as the original.  It’s called The Badger Confession (Flanker Press, $19.95). The author is J. A. Ricketts and its subject is the aftermath of the Badger Riot of 1959.

The Badger Riot was a true event in the little town of the same name in central Newfoundland.  It was part of the loggers’ strike for better pay and work conditions. In its brief course, both the RCMP and the Newfoundland Constabulary were sent in; a young member of the latter was killed. There were a number of suspects, but the killer was never found.

That is the background to the novel. An author’s note tells us all but four or five historical characters, such as the constable and Premier Joey Smallwood, were invented.

They are ordinary people, all of whose lives were affected by the riot and continue to be over a period of 30 years, each in his or her own way. Some of their children and grandchildren play a part in this novel too.

One of  Ricketts’ most remarkable skills as a writer is her ability to make her characters talk and act naturally; there is nothing stilted or artificial about them.  Richard Fagan the constable, Missus Annie Drum, the Mi’kmaw healer, Jenny Sullivan, wife, mother and town clerk, Vern the taxi man and later bus driver, Cecil Nippard the teenage failure with a gift for working with animals, are just as “real” as they can be. And they’re likeable too, in the sense in which you like your neighbours.

Organizations: Flanker Press, RCMP, The Guardian

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Saint John

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