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The Canterbury Trail

by (author) Angie Abdou

Brindle & Glass Publishing
Initial publish date
Feb 2011
General, Literary
This eBook meets EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification and W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 A, at a minimum.
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    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
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Winner of a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal

It’s the last ski weekend of the season and a mishmash of snow-enthusiasts is on its way to a remote backwoods cabin. In an odd pilgrimage through the mountains, the townsfolk of Coalton—from the ski bum to the urbanite—embark on a bizarre adventure that walks the line between comedy and tragedy. As the rednecks mount their sleds and the hippies snowshoe through the cedar forest, we see rivals converge for the weekend. While readers follow the characters on their voyage up and over the mountain, stereotypes of ski-town culture fall away. Loco, the ski bum, is about to start his first real job; Alison, the urbanite, is forced to learn how to wield an avalanche shovel; and Michael, the real estate developer, is high on mushroom tea.

In a blend of mordant humour and heartbreak, Angie Abdou chronicles a day in the life of these industrious few as they attempt to conquer the mountain. In an avalanche of action, Angie Abdou explores the way in which people treat their fellow citizens and the landscape they love.

About the author

Angie Abdou began writing fiction in 2000 and has since published five books. Anything Boys Can Do was praised by the Times Colonist (British Columbia) for its original take on female sexuality. The Bone Cage, a novel about Olympic athletes, was the inaugural One Book, One Kootenay, as well as a 2011 Canada Reads finalist and the 2012 MacEwan Book of the Year. The Canterbury Trail (Brindle & Glass, 2011), is a dark comedy specifically about mountain culture and more generally about community and our relationship with the environment. The Canterbury Trail was a finalist for the Banff Mountain Book of the Year and won an IPPY (independent publishing award), Gold Medal for Canada West. Her fourth novel, Between (Arsenal Pulp Press), is about working mothers, foreign labour, and swingers' resorts. It was chosen as a best of 2014 by the Vancouver Sun, Prism Magazine, and 49th Shelf. Her latest book, What Remains (Arsenal Pulp Press), will be released in Fall 2017. Angie was born and raised in Moose Jaw, SK. She currently lives in the Crowsnest Pass area and works as a Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University.

Angie Abdou's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Abdou's writing is concise and observant. Her attention to detail and awareness of the backcountry lifestyle is refreshing. But it's what's happening on a deeper level—the struggles of bridging a ski bum lifestyle with the necessities of a career, pragmatism and belonging—that are revealed like a ski carving through layers of bottomless snow. —Backcountry Skiing Canada

The story is at once bleak and hopeful; the writing is clear, considered prose. Angie combines traditional writing skill with forward-thinking fun. A wonderful voice in Canadian literature. —Robin Spano, Advent Book Blog

This amounts to a gnarly, original fictional journey. Abdou’s second novel is not the first literary work to emulate Chaucer’s classic, but it could be the most uninhibited and most fun. —ABC Bookworld

Original and entertaining. —Quill & Quire

[Angie Abdou] makes us care whether or not [her characters] find their magical chalice and make it back from their pilgrimage. —The Winnipeg Review

Each period in Canadian Literature has its bright lights, pre-confederation Canada has Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Trail; Ondaatje, Atwood, Laurence, and Munro all came to prominence in the 60s; and if I were to make a list of the great 21st century Canadian novelists to date, Angie Abdou would definitely be on the list. —The Canadian Book Review Blog

[The] Canterbury Trail . . . is much more than a story about a ski town. Like all great novels, it is a 'story of life' that just happens to be set in snowy mountains, with all the characters traipsing around on skis. . . . It's a delightful, thought-provoking book and I recommend it highly. —Jon Turk, Powder Canada

The Canterbury Trail often seems like an anthropological study of those who’ve devoted their lives to the mountains, and Abdou doesn’t shy away from more unsavory aspects of ski culture. —Mark Medley, The National Post

On every level I revelled in The Canterbury Trail, Angie Abdou’s new novel which reworks Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century Canterbury Tales to follow a group of people on a pilgrimage to a backcountry hut near the Canadian Rockies town of Coalton. —Straight Outta Dublin Blog

In The Canterbury Trail Abdou walks a tightrope, balancing elements of comedy and tragedy with equal poise and shows herself an able inheritor of ribald Chaucerian tradition. —Reading for the Joy of It Blog

Chaucer's friars, squires, merchants and summoners are substituted with ski bums, hippies, fish-out-of-water urbanites and rednecks from the fictional town of Coalton, B.C., who make a bizarre pilgrimage to a remote backwoods cabin [in The Canterbury Trail] —The Calgary Herald

Abdou takes us ' . . . somewhere beyond words.' All we can do is sit back and admire. —Book Discovery Blog

The book has a distinctly unpredictable ending, so it might be worth reading this one to figure it out. An enjoyable jaunt into the world of back-country and downhill skiing, especially if you’re a novitiate. —The Inferno

The very best thing about the book is the ending. I LOVED IT! —Lindy Pratch, Lindy Reads and Reviews blog

The story is very well told, with very rich and tight prose and description. —Coreena McBurnie, Books & Other Creative Adventures Blog

The Canterbury Trail solidified Angie Abdou as one of my favorite writers. —Lavender Lines Book Review Blog

The Canterbury Trail was a Mountain and Wilderness Literature finalist in the 2011 Banff Mountain Book Competition.

An unlikely group is pushed together, Big Chillish-style, for a close encounter of the awkward kind. —January Magazine

You don't need a grounding in Chaucer . . . to appreciate the cultural clashes, connections and revelations between the skiing pilgrims of The Canterbury Trail, or to relish the authentic suspense Abdou builds through a gradual but genuine investment in the wellbeing of the various characters. —Bookgaga Blog