Deloume Road, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


In the intense August heat, three local kids, Matthew, Andy and Josh, spend their time exploring the woods and secret places of Deloume Road and ignoring the ghostly boy Miles Ford, who's almost invisible anyway.

Soon though, a chance discovery sets off a terrible sequence of events, forever entwining these young lives with that of Gerard Deloume, the town's long-dead founder...Winner of the Guardian Not-The-Booker Prize and the Greene & Heaton Prize for Best Novel.




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Deloume Road centres on the the varied residents of the road of the title, Mill Bay, Vancouver Island. The residents include a Native Canadian, a young pregnant Korean widow, an Estonian hoping for his family to join him, and descendants of the original settlers of Deloume Road. But at the centre of the story the four young boys of around ten years or less, Matthew and his retarded brother Andy, Matthew's friend Josh, and the excluded Miles.The story, told in the third person, follows the events of a brief period in the recent past, but occasionally looks back about one hundred years to 1899 and the activities of the surveyor Douglas Deloume, whose name the road bears, and interspersed throughout is a present day commentary in the first person by one of the residents whose identity we gradually deduce.Through the course of the account we learn about the characters, their history, their tragedies and their joys, but the story comes to a fateful climax following the innocent discovery of a hidden item with a history unbeknown to its finders.The format of the account is interesting, told in very short chapters which in revolving sequence concentrate on each of the characters; often we see the same event from the different perspective of two or more of the residents.The result is a fully involving read, we really get to know each individual, their worries and fears, and their interactions with others. Most are good hearted and well intentioned, most but not all. All are well drawn, and the boys are particularly appealing, Matthew is a natural leader and charmingly protective of his younger backward brother Andy, delightful in his simplicity; Miles although living with his parents is very much a lost and neglected boy. The story is beautifully told, imbued with a real sense of place and restrained community; pervading much of the story is a tension, a suggestion that something is about to happen, and when it eventually becomes clearer what is about to occur the outcome is never sure until it happens.The conclusion is relative open, but what especially appealed was a late revelation that added a touch of irony, a sense of albeit tragic justice to a past event as it had a direct bearing on the present. Altogether Deloume Road is a most involving and moving story.

Also by Matthew Hooton