The Undertaking of Billy Buffone is a story about the trauma - immediate and ongoing, personal and collateral - inflicted by Rupert Churley, who preyed on boys in Twenty-Six Mile House, an isolated town in northern Ontario. The suicides, the conspiracy of silence, the secrets and the damage done to the boys, their friends and families, persist long after the murder of Scouter Churley.
In a narrative that unfolds like old time rock-n-roll Giuliano delivers a pitch-perfect, whip-smart glimpse into the lives of highly memorable characters in a small Northwestern Ontario town - Dayle Furlong, Lake Effect & Other Stories
The Undertaking of Billy Buffone is a fearless journey into the troubled souls of the citizens of a northern Ontario town. The traumas simmering within this close-knit community are real, gritty -- and often spiral into greater problems. One by one, each character discovers that life's burdens cannot be carried alone forever; the cost is too great. Truths are revealed and shame loses its power. There is redemption.
Interwoven throughout the novel is the spiritual life of the community, and this is where author David Giuliano shines. Faith -- whether Christian, Indigenous or a hybrid of the two -- is an agent of healing in this story, a path forward when all other avenues seem hopeless. Mercifully, you won't find the gauzy glow of religious stereotype here. Giuliano explores his characters' spiritual lives with the stark authenticity of someone who's both a leader and a pilgrim on the journey of faith.-Jocelyn Bell, Editor/Publisher, Broadview
The landscape, and the lake are living presences, and provide a setting for the mystical and the messy aspects of life to meet in ways that are both familiar, and surprising. As someone who grew up in Northern Ontario, I recognize the places, and find the characters believable.
David's writing is infused with love for the landscape of Northern Ontario, and for its people. There is beauty and brutality in the narrative, which is rendered with honesty and compassion. I love the glimpses of the spiritual reality that supports and surrounds the characters, as they each grapple with mystery." -Darrow Woods, finalist, 2019 Arthur Ellis Awards, Crime Writers of Canada
In The Undertaking of Billy Buffone, Giuliano conjures small town Northern Ontario, the shame that allows harm to carry on well past due, the way tragedies can overlap and intersect, as can our healing trajectories, bringing folks together in a universal human experience of loss and redemption. -Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler, author, Wrist and Ghost Lake
Matthew is a practical, matter-of-fact narrator, telling us about his best friend Billy, his hometown, and oh yeah, the fact he's dead and watching Billy's life from beyond the grave. he Undertaking of Billy Buffone is alternately tragic, sensitive, and portrays the strength of friendship with great tenderness." -Alison Manley, The Miramichi Reader
Every once in a while, a book comes along that captivates you, all of you. This is one such book. The title reveals itself to the reader in gradation, the character development captures your attention as each page divulges a bit more. Teachings from the indigenous culture combined with teachings from Christianity allow the reader to grow spiritually. The narrator speaks honestly about some pretty tough topics that can wake in the reader the trials and tribulations of people who walk on our streets now. Just maybe reading this book will build empathy and compassion resources.-Anna Maria Barsanti