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February 6, 2011

Sides of Peterborough, and Peterborough books

Michelle Berry’s “What It’s Like Living Here” got me thinking about my hometown of Peterborough a few weeks back, not least because she appears to live on the block where my two best friends grew up (and therefore me alongside them). Her piece awakened nostalgia for the Peterborough I left behind, while Candace Shaw’s response to it “I guess I do like it here” introduced me to a Peterborough I hardly know, and I think these both complement one another wonderfully.

I’m thinking about Peterborough at the moment now, however, because I had brunch with my friend Mike this morning, and also because I’m rereading Sarah Selecky’s collection This Cake is for the Party. Selecky is a Trent grad, and many of her stories take place along the city’s hallowed routes (sirens on Water Street). Andrew Pyper’s Kiss Me also contains stories set in Peterborough. And Paul Nicholas Mason’s novel Battered Soles is THE Peterborough novel, as far as I know– I enjoyed it very much a couple of years back. Any other Peterborough stories I’m missing?

Because as far as I’m concerned, no place is real until it has been rendered as fiction.

2 thoughts on “Sides of Peterborough, and Peterborough books”

  1. Michelle Berry says:

    Thank you so much for this. Peterborough is a rich rich city, isn’t it? Full of stories and differing views (internal and external). I’m glad my piece and Candace’s piece got you remembering. Have you read Andrew Pyper’s story in “The Notebooks”? It takes place at Trent University and is about a security guard there. I agree that Paul’s Battered Soles is THE Peterborough novel. I can’t bike that path without thinking of his pilgrimage.
    There’s an amazing visual artist here, Jeremiah Jerm — if you google him I think you’ll see parts of Peterborough you’d never get a chance to see (the old hospital).

    Michelle Berry

  2. Paul Nicholas Mason says:

    Thank you, Kerry — and Michelle. Your kind endorsement gives me license, perhaps, to point out that The Red Dress (Turnstone, 2008) is set in a community modeled on Lakefield, Ontario…just ten miles from Peterborough. (But I should also warn potential readers that The Red Dress is as dark as Battered Soles is light.)

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