Arts + Culture » Literary

Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart, Syr Ruus (Breakwater)

NS writer on detachment from life.

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On page one, readers awake with 45-year-old Emmanuel to his feeling of detachment from his own life. His disorientation deepening, Emmanuel takes a wrong turn, ending up in a stranger's driveway. He's mistaken as a long-awaited familiar. This sets him off on a personal quest to regain his bearings, meaning and purpose in life. Ruus, who lives in Crescent Beach, NS, translates Emmanuel's restlessness into the rhythm of her prose. Her dialogue isn't as fluid or natural as it should be, especially between Emmanuel and his wife, Emily. Occasionally it's stiff and overly formalized. But the protagonist's friendship with Juhan Lipp, an elderly Estonian man, who briefly accompanies Emmanuel on his journey, crystallizes the book's main idea: that wisdom comes cumulatively, a process that's never completed, arises from this friendship.

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