In Down the Coaltown Road, Sheldon Currie uses two narrative voices to explore the effect of international affairs on a small, ethnically mixed Cape Breton coal mining community during the summer of 1940. Mussolini has just thrown his support behind Hitler, bringing Italy into the war, and Prime Minister Mackenzie King has rendered a list of Italian-Canadians who can be classified as possible dissidents. Tomassio, one of the town’s most hardworking miners, is among those rounded up for an internment camp in either New Brunswick or Ontario. Tomassio uses his customary ingenuity to escape the confines of the local jail where he and his friends are temporarily held – but his freedom does not last for long. Anna, Tomassio’s resourceful wife who has an unerring ability to get what she wants from the men in her life, tells her story, which begins in Italy when she identifies the athletic, if quite arrogant, Tomassio as her best chance for immigration to Canada.