I’m burying the lede here. Purposefully, but you’ll get it later.
Today I met Megan Gail Coles, the author of Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club. I had first heard of this author from a CBC Radio interview with Tom Power. I knew instantly that I had to read her novel.. Why? Because it resonated with me on a deep level. Molecular. I ordered it instantly and devoured it in two short nights, sometimes putting it down at the extra frustrating parts, but even Megan herself will tell you that this is how many people come to read the book.
If you’re from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador you’re sure to recognize yourself or someone you know in the book. That’s what drew me in. Small town girl tries to make a life for herself in the big city underneath the thumb of THE MAN and the men. The book talks about family, about shame, about poverty. The book shines a spotlight on colonialism and sexism and classism in the highest degree. It’s not for the faint of heart, you’re going to get involved whether you like it or not.
I remember growing up thinking everything was normal and everything was just. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-late 20s that I took a deeper look at where and what we came from. Why nan stayed in the house raising the kids and pop and father always had the jobs. Why seasonal work was all that was available. Why you had to fight tooth and nail to get anything you needed and God forbid blessed with something you wanted. Why that lingering touch on the leg from Uncle so-and-so didn’t feel right but you’d never say it. There’s probably lots of instances in your small town rural life, if this fits your narrative, that you can drum up too if you think on it. That’s why you need to read this book. Lord knows you don’t need to be justified, but doesn’t it feel good when you are?
It’s maddening, truly, to awaken yourself to the sentiment that you’re not the only one who noticed the underlying hurt behind the curtain that beautifully drapes small town Newfoundland. In fact, it’s so maddening, that on page one of her book Megan writes, “This might hurt a little. Be brave.” Now sure, this book is written with Newfoundland in mind, but it could easily be mirrored across the strait and into Labrador. Wouldn’t even notice. No tunnel or ice-class ferry needed.
Speaking of ice, how ’bout them Icebergs, eh?
Upon talking to Megan for a good chunk of time during her reading at the Women’s Centre in Goose Bay today, we came to realize we agreed upon one thing, one popular, Titantic-sinking sized thing. Icebergs. The Province, god love ’em, has spent countless amounts of dollars promoting the death of our planet – did ya know that? You’re probably scratching your head thinking she’s off her rocker. Icebergs, incase you didn’t think to connect the dots, come down the coast in droves because they’ve broken off of major glaciers that……wait for it…….are melting because of global warming. You know, that irreversible thing we’re always squawking to the wind about and never having the sound hit anyones ears quite loud enough to listen?
Sure they’re gigantic and mysterious, and taste pretty good in a glass of whiskey, but they break my heart a little every-time I see one because I know what it means.
There. I said it. Good thing I’m nowhere near popular enough to cause a real shit storm, because after all, there’s “nothing worse than a woman who writes everything down.”
Thanks for taking the time to visit our library Megan, and for understanding the quick venue change, and for charming us all with your wit and words.
From across the bay,