25th Trillium Award

Trillium Testimonial: Hubert O'Hearn

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This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Ontario's illustrious Trillium Book Award/Prix Trillium. To celebrate this silver milestone, Open Book has asked members of the literary community to tell us what they love about their favourite award-winning Trillium title. If you're looking for a recommended read (or re-read), follow these Trillium Testimonials on Open Book: Ontario from now until the winners of the 2012 award competition are announced. Today, book reviewer and journalist Hubert O'Hearn tells us why he's chosen Rabindranath Maharaj's The Amazing Absorbing Boy (Knopf Canada), winner of the 2010 Trillium Book Award.

Open Book:

What do you love about this book?

Hubert O'Hearn

When I lived in Toronto, I always said that it was not so much a city as a thousand villages stapled together. That was and is what I love about it so much. It is not so much that old cliche of a cultural mosaic as it is a necklace composed of many jewels. By taking one of those gemstones and polishing it and presenting it in such vivid prose, Robin Maharaj made the city shine all the brighter.


When did you first read it?


I vividly remember the occasion where and when I read this vivid tale of a 17 year old immigrant boy from Trinidad. Because of a sudden, near-fatal illness suffered by my fiancee in the early spring of 2010, I was traveling daily on the Broadview streetcar to Toronto Western Hospital. As a book reviewer, I always was reading on those long trips and the even longer hours in the hospital room. One early morning I looked up and realized that out the streetcar windows was the precise fixed housing neighbourhood where the novel was set; maybe even the same gas station where young Samuel had found his first job.

Hubert O'Hearn is a syndicated book reviewer and journalist based out of Thunder Bay, Ontario. His work appears regularly in several international publications, including The Winnipeg Review, San Francisco Book Review and the Herald de Paris. He's also hosts the weekly podcastAudible Authors, an archive of his reviews can be found at here.

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