In a Cloud of Dust and Smoke [ePub]

by Raymond Fraser

In a Cloud of Dust and Smoke
by Raymond Fraser

Life is never monochromatic. In the most painful experiences, there are shades of dark humour and sweetness. Raymond Fraser's understanding of that is what, in essence, makes IN A CLOUD OF DUST AND SMOKE such a success. This 2003 story of a young boy coming ofage, surrounded by poverty and alcoholism, could easily be dark and gloomy. And while Fraser didn't treat his story flippantly, he did give it a comedic touch that won over literary critics and casual readers alike. "It is a wonderfully written story of youth, love, alcoholism, and a tribute to Alcoholics Anonymous " said one of our panellists.
The balance Fraser brings to this book is hard to achieve for most writers, but he had personal history to draw from. Fraser learned that a woman from his past, whom he had loved, had – like him – struggled with and recovered from alcoholism. From that nugget, In a Cloud of Dust and Smoke grew. He realized that he and this friend were more alike than they were different, that there is more that unites us in life's hardships than divides us. In exploring how demons like alcoholism can sink their talons into a person, he helps readers understand the forces that shape us. This is a personal, moving, and emotionally taut novel. Drawing from his own experiences, Fraser imbues his story with a raw, honesty humanity.
In the six years since its publication, In a Cloud of Dust and Smoke has become one of Fraser's most talked-about books. Critic Robert Gibbs describes what makes Fraser's book special: "[It's] an entertaining novel with serious and even somber overtones – a kind of anti-romance in which the narrator keeps a comic perspective on his own and others' woes." Amidst the emotion of the subject, the narrator has a cool detachment, bringing a wry skew to the book, neatly balancing the weighty subject matter.
It is easy to write a book that wallows in the misery of topics like poverty and alcoholism. To write a book that finds the humanity, spirit, and even humour in those topics is quite another thing. In accomplishing that, Fraser has written a book that hasn't just entertained, but has genuinely touched readers.
— TREVOR J. ADAMS & STEPHEN PATRICK CLARE, Atlantic Canada's 100 Greatest Books

"In A Cloud Of Dust And Smoke is a beautiful novel, written from the heart. Fraser handles the story of a young boy in love better than anyone else I've ever read – it has a wonderful truth to it."
— Fred Cogswell, Poet & Critic

11.09.2010

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