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I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this novel, which follows multiple characters as their lives intersect over the course of a year At the center of the story is Ralph, an environmental lawyer who, at the end of his career, seeks to overcome regrets from his youth, rekindling a romance with his high school sweetheart, and finishing a canoe trip that ended in disaster While the novel is anchored by Ralph s story, each character is given space to become fully formed Lynn, the high school girl I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this novel, which follows multiple characters as their lives intersect over the course of a year At the center of the story is Ralph, an environmental lawyer who, at the end of his career, seeks to overcome regrets from his youth, rekindling a romance with his high school sweetheart, and finishing a canoe trip that ended in disaster While the novel is anchored by Ralph s story, each character is given space to become fully formed Lynn, the high school girlfriend, Jules, her son, Jean Pierre, her estranged husband, Monique, a Canadian politician, and Dieter, who has inflicted harm on others throughout his life Tilley writes with attention to detail and sympathy even for the most conflicted characters, infusing his novel with questions about the way the past shapes the present and how to balance responsibility toward the world and responsibility toward oneself It took a bit for me to get into this story but I ended up really enjoying it the writing style is almost lyrical and very smooth And the characters stories weave together nicely to create an emotional journey. This is a novel of character, among other things I found myself quickly drawn to the main protagonists with all their strengths but eventheir limitations and failures I can t help but think that anyone entering the troisi me ge cannot but connect with some of the themes in the book revisiting and confronting the distant past, all the way back to high school who were we, who we are now, the conflicts between those time periods, but also acknowledging principles, influences, and even This is a novel of character, among other things I found myself quickly drawn to the main protagonists with all their strengths but eventheir limitations and failures I can t help but think that anyone entering the troisi me ge cannot but connect with some of the themes in the book revisiting and confronting the distant past, all the way back to high school who were we, who we are now, the conflicts between those time periods, but also acknowledging principles, influences, and even love that are still with us and that maybe define who we are, after all these years And which may require some effort and integrity to clarify.There s another character in the novel that is a benevolent presence throughout, and that is the beauty of the forests, lakes, rivers and nature in general in Quebec The author grew up in Quebec, and his obvious love for the environment there is touching and contagious.There other important themes, such as political conflicts in Quebec around the issues of language and independence adultery and reconciliation even gender identity What I found really satisfying is how all these different threads are adroitly woven together by the author into an impressive tapestry Highly recommended I enjoyed many things about this deeply felt, big hearted debut novel The limpid prose The warmth, depth, and candor about matters both personal and political The fully drawn characters, who pulse with life in particular, Jules, whose efforts to reconcile his grandparents to their conflicted feelings about his gender are fearless and loving Most of all, though, I appreciated the maturity of this book There is no razzle dazzle all eyes on me posing here What you get instead is so much I enjoyed many things about this deeply felt, big hearted debut novel The limpid prose The warmth, depth, and candor about matters both personal and political The fully drawn characters, who pulse with life in particular, Jules, whose efforts to reconcile his grandparents to their conflicted feelings about his gender are fearless and loving Most of all, though, I appreciated the maturity of this book There is no razzle dazzle all eyes on me posing here What you get instead is so much richer andentertaining an emotional acuity, a layering of memory and feeling, that pays rare tribute to the human heart s fullness From the very first page, you know that the author, Jim Tilley, is a poet While the layout of the novel is obviously prose, so many of the powerful, short sentences read like lines in an elegy The main characters are extremely complex and well developed They surprise you with their ability to shake themselves out of behavioral ruts and move on with their lives, in spite of strong connections to their past.The author clearly knows the terrain that his characters navigate environmentalism, Que From the very first page, you know that the author, Jim Tilley, is a poet While the layout of the novel is obviously prose, so many of the powerful, short sentences read like lines in an elegy The main characters are extremely complex and well developed They surprise you with their ability to shake themselves out of behavioral ruts and move on with their lives, in spite of strong connections to their past.The author clearly knows the terrain that his characters navigate environmentalism, Quebec separatism, sexual identity conflicts, parenting, politics, live and betrayal I sped through the book, but was a bit disappointed that parts of the story seemed to end a bit too neatly and too cleanly I felt that all of the decades long character conflict called for a good bit messier of an ending.I hope we don t have to wait too long for Tilley s next novel I love this book It doesn t try to be loud or fast or fancy instead it tries, and succeeds, at being true to life. |READ DOWNLOAD ♶ Against the Wind ♡ Against the Wind is an elegantly written story of relationships involving six principal characters, strands of whose lives braid together after a chance reunion among three of them A successful environmental lawyer is forced to take himself to task when he realizes that everything about his work has betrayed his core beliefs A high school English teacher asks her former high school love to take up her environmental cause A transgender adolescent male raised by his grandparents struggles to excel in a world hostile to his kind A French Canadian political science professor finds himself left with a choice between his cherished separatist cause and his marriage and family An accomplished engineer is chronically unable to impress his accomplished father sufficiently to be named head of the international wind technology company his father founded The Quebec separatist party s Minister of Natural Resources, a divorc e, finds herself caught between her French Canadian lover and an unexpected English Canadian suitor Ralph, a hard charging, successful attorney, suffers a mild heart attack just months before a canoe trip he has planned on the River Rouge with friends whom he has not seen in forty five years I thought this might be a French Canadian version of Deliverance another novel written by a poet but this canoe trip is just a backdrop for the story that unfolds A story that includes political intrigue, environmental confrontations, and parenting challenges in a society grappling with issues of gende Ralph, a hard charging, successful attorney, suffers a mild heart attack just months before a canoe trip he has planned on the River Rouge with friends whom he has not seen in forty five years I thought this might be a French Canadian version of Deliverance another novel written by a poet but this canoe trip is just a backdrop for the story that unfolds A story that includes political intrigue, environmental confrontations, and parenting challenges in a society grappling with issues of gender identity Like James Dickey, James Tilley has a poet s skill for vividly painting the landscape from white water rapids to New York skylines to Cape Cod sunrises While Ralph is the primary character, this story has an ensemble of folks men and women confronting life s big issues Ralph, wealthy and alone, reaches out to Lynn, the love he lost decades ago Lynn, separated from her husband, Jean Pierre must decide whether to give up on her marriage and take a chance with Ralph, who has been less than trustworthy Jules, transgender son of Lynn and Jean Pierre is trying to make his way in a brave new world and desperately wants to keep his parents together There are no easy answers No pat solutions Tilley does a great job of writing about work Not an easy thing to do His characters are successful lawyers, engineers, politicians, scientists He doesn t overwhelm us with minutiae He provides just enough detail so we can understand these complex characters.Tilley, a masterful poet, has crafted an excellent debut novel This would have been ainteresting book if i knew anything about the Canadian politics and environmental issues they are undertaking Also, the transgender dialogues were not convincing, wayissues involved were not touched upon Those issues could have been included to make arounded read However, the book is well written and has its moments of delight. With an amateurish writing style and too much focus on the technicalities of wind turbines and separatist movements, I found this book difficult to read I had to force myself to finish it I also felt that there were too many undeveloped characters who is Peter, again I could not connect with any of the main characters I truly didn t care what happened to any of them I also thought the ending seemed unfinished.