Sunday, October 22, 2006

Greener Than Eden - Michael Kohn

The Basics: Greener Than Eden, Michael Kohn, 2006, 253 pages, paperback.

How I found it: I read an article about this book in the July/Aug 2006 edition of Outpost Magazine and decided to put it on hold at the library.

What's it about?: A novel about a young man trying to escape trouble he has gotten himself into at university by going tree-planting for the summer. Noah is "green" at the job but quickly works his way up to a spot on the coveted "high-baller" crew making the big money. His summer is filled with inner struggle, love, conflict and all that usual good angsty stuff. As well, there is a great cast of characters to round out the mix. Oh yeah, and they plant a helluva lot of trees.

Did I like it?: This is Kohn's first novel, but it doesn't often show. He writes well without being obnoxiously poetic. I didn't really know anything about tree-planting before reading this book, even though I know quite a few people who do it every summer. In that respect the book was quite educational. I found the plot quite interesting, especially the interplay between the characters and Noah's personal struggle. Overall, it was a good fast read without being pulpy and formulaic.

Will you like it?: If you have ever thought about going tree-planting, this is a must read. If you are curious about it, that is another good reason to read Kohn's novel. Kohn is an emerging Canadian writer worth supporting; this is good contemporary fiction so go read it already.

But don't take my word for it: A reader review (and spoilerish plot summary) from an reader, a mixed review from the Globe and Mail, and one from This Magazine.

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