Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

King

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King

Coach House Books, 2006
224 pages

King works in a little garage on the outside of
town. Just where nothing turns into even more of
nothing. So I walked there, but as I got closer
I knew that I didn’t want to talk to King. I just
wanted to know that he was in the world on a day
like this, just to make things perfect for me.

Hoping to erase her unhappy old life, Hazel jumped inher beat-up old car and sped away, finding herself in the Evening and Morning Star Trailer Park. When the dust settled, so did she.

At the centre of this new life is King, a motorcycle-riding, hard-drinking, guitar-playing kind of guy. Hazel loves him to death. He spends his days fixing cars, Hazel spends hers working at the town’s thrift shop. Evenings they spend with Spiney and Sissy, playing cards or drinking at Old Joe’s. It’s a clear kind of life, pure as water in the old quarry. Isn’t it?

As Hazel settles into the trailer park, she begins to settle into her new life too. She covers the trailer’s yard with wildflowers. She makes new friends, like Egbert (Egg), who helps her create elaborate tableaux in the thrift-shop window. She might even learn how to cook.

But when King’s repeated brushes with the lawbring him a spell in jail, things begin, slowly and surely,to unravel. Maybe Hazel hasn’t outrun herself after all, maybe year-round Christmas lights and thrift-shop glamour can’t outshine honesty, and maybe Hazel can’t make her world perfect by willing it so.

Fun and sad and true, King feels like a slumber party: just you and your best friend in sleeping bags whispering through the long night. And when you wake up in the morning, you’ll blink, shake your head, and for a second, just a second, the world will seem like a more magical place.

Tanya Chapman is a graduate of the UBC creative writing program. Her short story "Spring the Chick" won THIS magazine's Great Canadian Literary Hunt. She has had two short films produced and the Ontario Arts Council has supported her new manuscript, The Welcoming Place. She works as the Director of Communications at the Directors Guild of Canada.