Stanley Park: A Novel

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9781582432908: Stanley Park: A Novel

Overwhelmed by debts despite the success of his Pacific Northwest restaurant, Jeremy Papier agonizes over turning control over to a family friend who would bail him out of his troubles despite the firm objections of his chef, a situation that is further complicated when his eccentric father involves him in an urban murder mystery. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.

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Review:

In Timothy Taylor's debut novel Stanley Park, aspiring food artiste Jeremy Papier attempts to juggle the finances of his fledgling eatery, The Monkey's Paw, and his conflicted feelings about his attractive sous-chef. Meanwhile, on the other side of downtown Vancouver, his anthropologist father camps out in Stanley Park to study a group of homeless men. Impending financial ruin drives Jeremy into the clutches of an evil coffee magnate while his father delves deeper into the indigent lifestyle, probing the mystery of two dead children once found in the park as well as his failed marriage to Jeremy's mother. A tragicomic denouement takes the characters back to their human roots as hunter-gatherers in the 21st century.

The big idea in Stanley Park is that global corporate culture threatens the local connections that sustain us. Only the outcasts in Stanley Park retain these connections, and one of them imparts to Jeremy the secret of trapping a swan: "'Stinky box does it,' Caruzo informed, scratching himself. 'Stinky box is all.'" He retrieves a discarded hot dog shipping box and explains the technique: "'I distract him.' Caruzo said. 'You kill him. Distract. Kill.'" Though our hero cannot bring himself to dispatch the bird, he understands the basic link with nature. Stanley Park isn't Crime and Punishment and doesn't pretend to be, even if the vocabulary is sometimes a little pretentious. Taylor, who won Canada's 2000 Journey Prize for his short fiction, tells a good story, creating plausible characters for this coming-of-age narrative and making a good start to a novelistic career. --Robyn Gillam, Amazon.ca

From the Inside Flap:

Aspiring young chef Jeremy Papier will do almost anything to keep his high-end Vancouver restaurant afloat. Jeremy, who views cooking as gang warfare, is a self-styled "Blood" — a believer in preparing innovative dishes from fresh, local ingredients. He has only contempt for the "Crips" who bend to every passing food fad.

But when his latest financial scam fails, Jeremy is forced to strike a deal with the devil in the form of a powerful coffee-shop magnate who transforms his beloved bistro into a pretentious "Crip" palace. Mix in Jeremy's eccentric professor father, a group of homeless men with a taste for stewed raccoon, and the decades-old mystery of two children murdered in Stanley Park, and you have a tantalizing concoction of satire and suspense.

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