BURRIDGE UNBOUND "is a romance, a political thriller and a fascinating meditation on life lived on a dangerous precipice. It's a great read."
-- Bronwyn Drainie
He survived the ordeal of torture at the hands of terrorists in the South Pacific "island paradise" of Santa Irene. Now, Bill Burridge returns home to Ottawa, where he casts himself single-mindedly into building a human rights organization to stand watch over the world's most troubled areas.
Yet he is a man struggling to hold his life together, as he is plagued by memories of his incarceration and by the strain of his disintegrating marriage. When a democratic revolution headed by the charismatic widow Suli Nylioko stands Santa Irene on a knife-edge between chaos and healing, Burridge reluctantly agrees to serve on a Truth Commission there to investigate past atrocities.
In the midst of his growing attachment to his personal aide, Joanne, and his strange attraction to Suli Nylioko, Burridge enters a society fractured by years of dictatorship and insurgency, where mass graves bear witness to old horrors and secret detention centres still abound.
Written in the compelling, often sardonic, wrly humorous voice of Bill Burridge, Cumyn's hypnotic novel immerses us in a shadowy world of shifting loyalties and betrayals, and in the intricate, rejeuvenating bonds of human relationships.
Burridge Unbound is taut, intelligent, vividly told, and confirms Cumyn's growing reputation as one of the best young writers in the country.
"BURRIDGE UNBOUND is a story about the fragility of life, life pushed to the edge. It is a brilliant depiction of a man at a precarious crossroads. The novel is breathtaking, almost impossible to put down. Alan Cumyn is a writer of remarkable talent."
-- Alistair Macleod
"What happens to a man, a rather ordinary Canadian diplomat, who is taken hostage by terrorists in a distant Pacific island and kept prisoner, starved and tortured in a black box for nine months? What happens to his mind, his body, his emotions, his sense of self? That's what Alan Cumyn sets out to explore in this rivetting and extremely well written novel."
-- Bronwyn Drainie
"As Canadian writer Alan Cumyn has proven in his award-winning third novel Man of Bone, and now in its sequel Burridge Unbound, the activist with a talent for storytelling can be remarkably well-placed to bring to a wide readership a view of humanity normally only chronicled in the pages of human rights organizations' official reports... The pain, suffering and chaos of a world turned topsy turvy is superbly mediated through the sardonic voice of Burridge, and the result is a novel which both moves and educates."
-- Katri Skala, C2, Amnesty International (London)
"Burridge is an exceptional achievement in terms of character: irascible, moody, compassionate, filled with both self-pity and a remarkable strength. His voice rings true... As I read about the events unfolding in Sierra Leone, all I can think of is how chillingly real the core of Mr. Cumyn's story is, how insistently the heart of darkness continues to beat."
-- Eva Tihanyi, The Ottawa Citizen
Excerpt from Burridge Unbound.
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