Book Review

Jamie Heap
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Introspective hero continues smuggling tradition. Keeping Things Whole: A Novel. Written by Darryl Whetter (Vagrant Press: An Imprint of Nimbus Publishing, 2013), $19.95, 264 pages. 

From the author of A Sharp Tooth in the Fur, The Push & the Pull and Origins, comes the intriguing tale of an introspective, post-modern hero raised on tough love who paints houses by day and ships weed by night.

Through protagonist Antony Williams, Darryl Whetter, who has published or presented essays in Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Sweden and the United States, examines his smuggling ways against the backdrop of Windsor, Ontario’s rich smuggling heritage.

During Prohibition, approximately 80% of the alcohol that entered America was smuggled across the Detroit River from Windsor to Detroit, a fact not lost on Williams who takes pride in continuing his border city’s smuggling tradition by catapulting loads of illicit marijuana across the Detroit River with his homemade trebuchet catapult at night.

There’s just one problem: Kate Chan, a beautiful street smart law student of Scottish-Chinese-Canadian ancestry, challenges Williams,’ compels him to realize that marijuana is not the only thing that he has been smuggling from the converted basement of his family’s home.

Comprised of 49 short chapters that range in name from Windsor Rain, Detroit Industry, Family Pride, Draft Age, The Foundry, Getting Her Spine, The Bird Has Flown, Blow Your Mine to Earthly Paradise, Keep Things Whole examines the post-nuclear family, the pull of home and the fragility of romance in this page-turning, introspective, post-modern novel of love, death and drug smuggling that causes readers to examine where they come from in order to find out where it is that they’re going.

For more information about Vagrant Press, an Imprint of Nimbus Publishing, visit, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. Available wherever fine books are sold.

Organizations: Vagrant Press, Imprint of Nimbus Publishing

Geographic location: United States, Windsor, Detroit River Canada France Germany Iceland India Sweden Ontario

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