The Terris are engaging people, but they are a family in collapse. Alcoholism, drugs, and loveless sex have reduced them to a petty and wasted bunch. Worse, they typify aspects of the larger community besieged by financial woes and by creeping economic and cultural Americanization.
What David Adams Richards accomplishes is no mean feat: his characters are at times vicious, sleazy, and even outright dim, yet he manages to entitle them to the interest and sympathy of the reader.
Even more now than at its first publication in 1981, Lives of Short Duration’s sharp, essential insights have significance for readers seeking to understand the modern Canadian predicament.
David Adams Richards was born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, in 1950. He has published ten acclaimed novels, including the award-winning Miramichi trilogy – Nights Below Station Street, winner of the 1988 Governor General’s Award; Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace (1990), winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award; and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down (1993), winner of the Thomas Raddall Award – Hope in the Desperate Hour (1996), The Bay of Love and Sorrows (1998), and, most recently, Mercy Among the Children (2000), co-winner of the prestigious Giller Prize. In 1993, Richards received the Canada-Australia Prize.
Richards has also published three non-fiction books, most recently the Governor General’s Award-winning fishing memoir Lines on the Water (1998), and has written Gemini Award-winning screenplays for the CBC-TV adaptations of his novels For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down and Nights Below Station Street. “Small Gifts,” his original screenplay for CBC-TV, won a Gemini Award and the New York International Film Festival Award for Best Script.
Richards now lives in Toronto with his wife, Peggy, and their two sons.
From the Hardcover edition.