Shortlisted for the 2003 Amazon/Books In Canada First Novel Award
A stunning first novel full of empathy, marked by an astounding maturity of insight. Cumberland is both a place and a state of mind; it is a small-town story of longing and loss in the manner of David Adams Richards. It is an exploration of loneliness and the fear of loneliness in lives limited by circumstance. Cumberland is an industrial town located halfway between Ottawa and Montreal on the shore of the St. Lawrence River. It's facing the close of its factories and mills in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Ernest, a mill worker whose job is lost when the mill closes, is fifty-two; his employment prospects are poor. His life to this point hasn't equipped him to face any more loss. Longing for companionship, he meets Bea, a waitress at Malouf's, the local pub. Bea lives in an apartment with Amanda, who left home at 17 because she couldnt live with her mother and stepfather. Yearning for a better life, Amanda develops a crush on Nick, Ernest's drinking buddy, who represents many aspects of a better life - he has a Range Rover, owns a house - he is emotionally unavailable to Amanda, being a recently widowed single father. The lives of Ernest, Bea, Amanda, Nick, and his son Aaron come together, fall apart, and come together again in this memorable and emotionally satisfying novel.
Cumberland is the debut novel by Michael V. Smith. Cumberland is set in Canada, on the shores of the St. Lawrence river. Here is a small town where local industry is dying in the wake of the North American Fair Trade Agreement. Voice actor Mike Chamberlain unwraps the lives of an unemployed mill worker, a tired waitress, a teen runaway, a widowed single father, and his son. These characters form a looping chain of want and loss in an evocative, splendidly natural setting. Through Chamberlain’s thoughtful narration you see small-town life in Canada and the practical and emotional aspirations of these working- and middle-class characters. Cumberland was shortlisted for the 2003 Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award.