Last of the Lumbermen, The


ISBN 9781770862876 | 5.25″ x 8″ | TPB | $21.95
ISBN 9781770862883 | EBOOK | $12.99

Category: Literary Novels





Middle-aged Andy Bathgate clings to a precarious life in the logging town of Mantua, British Columbia. He fears the balance he currently enjoys — his relationship with a good woman, the uneasy truce with her eco-activist son, senior hockey with his friends — will come undone the moment the truth comes out: that he is not, in fact, Andy Bathgate. What he doesn’t realize is that the people of his community aren’t as clueless as he believes — and that honesty, decency, and fairness still have a place in the 21st century.

Written by award-winning non-fiction author Brian Fawcett, The Last of the Lumbermen weaves a story of modern small-town Canada in a voice seasoned with the wisdom and frankness of maturity.

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“Fawcett has written a gripping, funny, tender story with an unconventional narrative arc and great voice. The world he creates is detailed and vivid, and the characters linger in the mind. As the saying goes, The Last of the Lumbermen is in it to win it. Let’s hope it hoists a trophy or two.”
Quill and Quire

“As good as hockey novels get; a realistic story of the senior men’s game and the life of west coast loggers.”
Owen Sound Sun-Times


Let me tell you the story of my life.

First, I’ve got my head down. That makes me pretty much like an awful lot of people, so I’ll be specific. I’m on a sheet of ice in a cold arena full of hockey fans and hockey players, and I’ve got my back to the other players with the puck on my stick just inside my own team’s blueline, a step away from the boards.

I can hear things I can’t see. This time it’s a young kid a few rows into the stands above our bench. He’s yelling at me in a high, reedy voice that’s had the needle in me since the game began. No, wait a sec. This kid has been on me since the beginning of last season. Or maybe the beginning of time.

“Wake up before it’s too late, Bathgate,” he’s screeching. “There’s a hockey game going on.”

For sure. I can also hear a stick banging the ice behind my left shoulder. That’s going to be my winger, Gord. Last time I saw him he was near centre, but now he’s come back to pick up the passfrom me. Without looking I flick the puck between my legs along the blueline, a neat move that will allow him to deal the puck to my other wingman, Jack, who will be crossing centre ice.

Yeah, yeah. A blind pass in your own zone is hockey’s equivalent of picking your nose in public. A house league move. But what’s life without a little adventure? If the move works, Jack has a breakaway if Gord can make a pass as slick as mine. Or at least he will have until the Stingers run him down.

So, that’s the plan. But in the real world, Gord is cruising toward centre like he ought to be, and my brilliant pass lands on the stick of the Stingers’ right winger, who’s too lazy to check Gord knowing how easily he can catch him. And when the puck lands on his stick, he slips it to the other Stinger winger, who’s also screwing around at our blueline. He skates unmolested into the sweet part of the slot and rockets a shot at — not accidentally — our goalie’s head. On cue, said goalie ducks, and the red light goes on behind him.

I’m not a witness to this, because the blind pass isn’t my only mistake. I haven’t heard the third Stinger forward coming in behind me. Just as I straighten up and begin to turn so I can watch my handiwork, he jackhammers me into the boards, and my stick jams against the bottom of them so the butt skewers me right above my solar plexus. A nanosecond later, my flimsy old Jofa helmet hits the glass, hard.

When the lights come up again, they carry a whole lot of soft pastels you’re not supposed to see in a hockey arena. I can’t get any air into my lungs, but damn, I hear birds. Robins sweetly twittering away about how tasty the worms are, but there’s also a raven’s squawk echoing in the hollow distance of a very dark forest. Then there’s only the dark.

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About the Author

Fawcett, Brian - is the author of several works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, including My Career with the Leafs and Cambodia: A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow. His book Virtual Clearcut: Or, the Way Things Are in My Home Town won the Pearson Prize for non-fiction in 2004. (read more)

Books by the Author

Last of the Lumbermen, The - Brian Fawcett
ISBN 9781770862876 | 5.25" x 8" | TPB | $21.95

Middle-aged Andy Bathgate fears the precarious balance he enjoys in the logging town of Mantua, British Columbia, will come undone the moment the truth comes out: that he is not, in fact, Andy Bathgate. (read more)
Let’s Keep Doing This:
A Sounding in Honour of Stan Persky
- edited by Brian Fawcett and Thomas Marquard
ISBN 9781770863613 | 5.125" x 7.625" | TP | $24.95

Essays, poems, artwork, and commentaries address concerns familiar to Stan Persky, whose life as a public intellectual has led him to write poetry, award-winning works of creative non-fiction, and to be at the forefront of many of contemporary society’s most significant battles. (read more)

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