On the waterfront and elsewhere in Toronto with Cary Watson
I suspect Cary Watson, an occasional commenter here and at other fine blogs, might agree because his novel Dead Bunny is full of mordant, resigned descriptions of Toronto such as:
"We ended up at a mini-mall on Yonge Street, on the southern edge of Richmond Hill, which is indistinguishable from the northern edge of Toronto. Once there was a thick barrier of farms between the two, but now there’s only a gauntlet of big box superstores."
"It was pissing rain and the winding road through the development was crisscrossed with tan rivers of mud streaming off the building lots. No one seemed to be working anywhere, and the half-completed homes dotted across the torn-up landscape seemed to make the scenery even bleaker."and
"the ultra-trendy nightspots mushrooming up along College Street in what was once a Little Italy and is now Italian-themed ..."The closest Watson's descriptions get to anger is this:
"Highway 7 is a Hadrian’s Wall across the top of Toronto. It separates the city from the land of two-car garages and golf courses named after the natural features they’ve obliterated."But the novel does not take the easy path of railing against development as a despoiler of all that is good. Mostly, I thank, Watson has that ability, apparently unique to Toronto crime writers, to observe urban change without rancor or apocalyptic rants. (See John McFetridge's comments on the subject in his 2008 interview with Detectives Beyond Borders.)
It's not necessary to know Toronto to get a sense of the city from Watson's book. Equally accessible are the suspects in the killing alluded to in the title, as reprehensible and pathetic a gang of insecurely macho dickheads as any set down on paper.
But you have to be Canadian to enjoy this line as much as I did:
"I thanked Carver and left him disappointed that I wasn’t going to stick around for his précis of his projected one-man show on the life of Pierre Berton."And now, your turn. What are your favorite and most unusual descriptions of setting in crime fiction?
© Peter Rozovsky 2013