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Every Little Thing

Every Little Thing

No relation

Breakwater Books Ltd.

Pelley, Chad




2013-04-16 11:03:33: Nomination was created
2013-04-16 11:08:10: payment successful from Paypal (order 39)

Rebecca Rose


Breakwater Books Ltd.

Feature film


Chad Pelley's debut novel, Away from Everywhere, was a Coles bestseller, recognized by three awards, taught in universities, and film rights were sold in Canada. His writing has been acknowledged by 10 awards, and broadly published and anthologized. Every Little Thing is his second novel.

Winner of the NLAC's CBC Emerging Artist of the Year Award, Two-time winner of the Arts and Letters Award, Shortlisted for ReLit Award and Canadian Authors Association's Emerging Author Award, Winner of the Cuffer Prize for short fiction and the only Newfoundland author to have won first, second and third place in this competition, Winner of the 2013 SALON National Fiction Writing Prize, first novel was Coles bestseller and reprinted several times, both books under consideration for foreign rights deals in ten territories, film rights to first book sold to Canadian production company.

When Cohen's decision to hlep his dying father-in-law takes a turn for the worse, the resulting butterfly effect destroys more lives than his own.

Cohen blames himself for his brother's shocking death. He's withdrawn and numb to everything, except the allure of his new neighbor, Allie. Allie is a wildcard, but being with her requires Cohen to bond with her lonely father - a shopping channel addict with strange hobbies. Years into their relationship, Allie's father is diagnosed with cancer, and asks Cohen to assist his suicide. When Cohen refuses to help, her father stages an "accidental death" that both he and Allie witness. This haunts Cohen to the point of destroying Cohen and Allie's relationship. Allie leaves Cohen for her boss, Keith. Years later, Allie needs Cohen's help in tending to a mutual friend, as the mutual friend succumbs to dementia. Reunited, they have a complicated affair, and a jealous Keith frames Cohen as a violent offender. The suspenseful and unpredictable arc of the affair lands Cohen in jail, leaves one man dead, and another stabbed. In a concurrent plotline, Cohen's quest to help a child no one else will help gets him in further trouble. Cohen's jail sentence is something that the audience can judge themselves as right or wrong. Outside the prison, one last shocking twist is being kept from Cohen.

Cohen: is big-hearted with the best intentions, but his passionate nature makes him irrational. He gets into situations where he crosses a line and inadvertently harms himself or others. He also suffers from a genetic heart disorder. He is a bird biologist, but works mainly with children - and helping one of them gets him fired.
Allie - is vibrant with an immense capactity to love. She expects the best from people, but as her arc unforlds, her character comes into question. She's a photographer and an environmental engineer.
Keith - is hyper-masculine and easy to dislike for his arrogrance and poor values. He frames Cohen in a callous way that will infuriate viewers.
Lee - is a war vet turned street vendor who sells Allie's photography. Eventually, Lee's violent dementia ends in a violent crime that Cohen pays the price for.
Matt - Allie's father is big-hearted and keeps busy with odd hobbies to distract himself from the loneliness of his wife's death. His friendship with Cohen is very touching.
Zack - ia a bright, adopted 6 year old whom Cohen meets through work. This may or may not be Cohen's son. He dies of a heart condition.

Every Little Thing was intentionally crafted to capture the human struggles we all face in life, and will therefore resonate with a wide audience. It is a story for anyone who has lost someone and moved on, but never really moved on. It's a story about the potency of friendships, and the trouble they can get you in if you're willing to honour them. In many ways, it is a love story gone horribly wrong and exposes how the power of love can just as easily destroy a life as it can better one, if you don't give into it.
Conceptually, this story is about how our whole loves cascade from a decision or two we make along the way. But we don't know what the ramifications of those decisions will be until years later, when it's too late to do things differently. And since we all have regrets, or we all wonder about the life that could have been - it has universal appeal that will resonate with viewers. Essentially, it's a study of the butterfly effect of a single decision.
Thematically, this story highlights the extreme power of life's three most precious things: romance, friendship and family.

Every Little Thing is a scene-driven story; there are dozens of very powerful scenes that will allow strong acting to shine. These scenes - a family's reaction to a child's drowning, a daughter witnessing her father's suicide, a comedic botched rescue of an injured bird, Lee's dementia-fueled spiral to a dark act of violence, and many more - will make for gripping, emotionally riveting scenes. Because gripping, emotionally riveting scenes are exactly what the author strives for, and his work is consistently called "cinematic" for that reason.

Male Teens
Female Teens
Men 18–34
Women 18–34
Men 35-54
Women 35–54
Other (e.g., mystery fans)

Is comprable to HBO's "Six Feet Under", for its unflinching look at death's role in life as well as family tensions, and for its character-driven and emotionally rich foundation. It's also like "Blue Valentine," but with more dramatic subplots and suspenseful scenes. Lastly, if you replace the war element of Jim Sheridan and David Denioff's "Brothers" (2009) with a different sort of trauma, this novel is comprable to that movie for the way it deals with the complexities of love and human ties that most movies shy away from, and for its many powerful scenes of loss and confrontation.


Two-page excerpt of Every Little Thing by Chad Pelley (Breakwater Books, 2013):

Cohen sat at the back of the boat staring behind him as Ryan relieved himself. His hand going numb from the vibration of the throttle all afternoon.
“Hurry up, man! We’re not headed for a wharf or something are we?”
“No, and slow down a little. Jesus, I’m gonna piss on myself here!”
Cohen was watching a flying V of ducks overhead when he felt the lever of the throttle torque his wrist up, like the propellers had snagged on vegetation or struck a rock. “Ryan, c’mon. Hurry up.”
No response.
He knew. His jaw went numb at the thought of the propellers biting into his brother. He let go of the throttle and refused to turn his head and be sure. Some force, some invisible set of hands pushing against his head as he turned, so slowly, to look at the front of the boat.
It was empty.
Ryan wasn’t on the floor of the boat, but Cohen took a quick and stubborn look under bookbags and behind a bench. He looked in the water behind him and Ryan wasn’t swimming towards him. He wasn’t swimming towards shore. Just wasn’t there. Cohen hauled the outboard motor up and out of the water and checked the propellers for signs they’d struck his brother.
He cut the stereo and a curtain of silence fell around him. A stillness. He heard no signs of his brother: no thrashing, no screams for help, no laughter. He shouted his brother’s name into that silence. Filled it. Shouted like his screams would yank Ryan to the surface. Fish him out of the water.
He didn’t even think to close his mouth or take a breath of air as he dove into the pond. He was in the water and his chest stung — the wound from his surgery still not closed. He was screaming his brother’s name and it came out bubbly and muffled; the murky pondwater gurgling in his throat whenever he yelled Ryan’s name. The taste of it thick in his mouth. Like cow manure and grainy dirt.
He couldn’t see a thing. A million flecks of brown were suspended and bobbing calmly up and down in the water. A ballet of silt; such a stark contrast to his panic.
He came to the surface for air. Gulped. And his lungs felt like torn bags. He submerged and swam for the bottom: the water getting more and more visually impenetrable as he descended; the spaces between suspended were dirt closing and closing until all was brown. It was getting darker and blacker as the sun’s reach waned. The silt like microscopic claws at his eyes. His legs kicking furiously, yet barely moving, and eventually his palms hit mud. Sank inches deep in that mud. His lungs begging for air, tightening. He felt around. His throat ready to pop; an urgency for Ryan over-riding an urgency for air. Buoyancy yanking him towards the surface. He fought against that pull, fought against the need for air, kicking his feet and scraping his hands off God knows what on the bottom of the pond: the mud cool enough to soothe whenever something snagged and tore at his flesh. The incision on his chest was no longer stinging, or adrenaline had him feeling invincible. Like he could punch a hole in the bottom of the pond to drain it.
He rushed to the surface for air. He was shoveling his arms through the water to swim to the surface and the water felt semi-solid. Like gel. His arms and legs moved so slowly compared to how hard he dug to get to the surface, and he hated his lungs for needing more air. Panic had him gulping pond water as he swam to the surface, like maybe he’d drown too, but the light was getting brighter and brighter and he made it. He yelled meaningless guttural panic as his head broke the surface of the water, crying so goddamn hard as pondwater gurgled out of his throat and leaked out from his mouth and nose and rattled in his left ear drum. Deep breaths. He screamed Ryan’s name as he bobbed at the surface, hoping Ryan had emerged, found his way ashore.
The sound of no response was the sound of a hundred things that weren’t Ryan. Buzzing instincts, cars whizzing by on the highway beyond the pond. The panic had two hands around his throat. His heart thudding and thumping. It felt like his ribs were caging in an agitated bird. He swam along the surface, a little farther away from the boat, where he assumed Ryan had fallen in and gotten struck by the propellers.
Deep breath. Conviction. But the fight against the water was getting harder as his muscles weakened. The rush to get down to the bottom. Faster than this. His hands back at the muddy bottom, wrist deep in mud, elbow deep in places. He felt something solid and thick as an arm. His heart stopped, his whole body stopped, but the object was loose and weightless. Attached to nothing. A beer bottle. One of theirs maybe, and that was cruel. There was something sick about that bottle having belonged to them. That they were together, above surface, drinking and laughing and this seemed impossible. Them separated and searching for each other below the surface. That his brother could die. Ryan could die. Not exist. That the water could be so murky, so visually impenetrable, that Ryan could be within reach without him knowing.

Every Little Thing is a fast-paced drama, full of action and consequence, infused with a stirring love story gone horribly wrong. The whirlwind butterfly effect of a single moment in Cohen Davies' life lasts years, resulting in 4 deaths, 2 assaults, and Cohen's possibly unjust incarceration. While the major plot is the trajectory of Cohen and Allie's complicated romance, there are many subplots, including the story of Cohen's incarceration, a dying man's plans for suicide, one man's slipping into mental illness, a very moving subplot of a man looking out for a kid with no one in his life, and many more.

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