Bruce Graham has created in Duddy McGill a memorable comic protagonist. First introduced in the novel Ivor Johnsonâ€™s Neighbours (Pottersfield Press), published in 2004, Duddy is a rural odd-job man whose â€œworkâ€ causes disaster to those unwise enough to hire him.
We first encounter him as he is being sued because a â€œclothesline platformâ€â€”the erecting of which is supposed to be Duddyâ€™s specialtyâ€”gives way and injures its owner. Duddy decides to conduct his own defence, and, as his career spirals downwards, his long-suffering wife, Minnie, leaves him.
The tone of Duddy Doesnâ€™t Live Here Anymore is unashamedly hokey, a re-creation of a simpler, sunnier and funnier timeâ€”shades of a Norman Rockwell painting come to life in prose. As such, itâ€™s an impressive piece of work. Duddyâ€™s voice, and those of his comrades and enemies, is very consistent, and the humour successfully walks the fine lineâ€”like the writings of PG Wodehouse or Ted Â Russellâ€”where absurdity is never edged with cynicism.
Duddy Doesnâ€™t Live Here Anymore
by Bruce Graham
$19.95, paperback, 190 pp.
Pottersfield Press, July 2013