logo

Patrick Lane
Deep River Night



Book Cover

In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, Russell Banks, Guy Vanderhaeghe, and Annie Proulx, this much-anticipated new novel by the bestselling author of Red Dog, Red Dog is set over the course of 48 hours in a remote sawmill community where violence, complicity, and inaction run deep, and explores the burden of bearing witness to a terrible crime.

World War Two vet Art Kenning is the alcoholic first-aid man in an isolated sawmill village in the interior of B.C., where he dreads the sound of the five whistles that summon him to the mill floor whenever a worker is hurt. Traumatized by an incident in Holland, when he stood by while members of his unit committed a horrific act, he loses himself in drink, and in memories of the love affair he had with a woman in wartime Paris. But the sad comfort of his self-imposed detachment is shattered when one of the most powerful men at the mill arrives at his door late one evening to ask for his help. What unfolds over the course of that night and following day will force Art to confront acts of evil, both in the present and the past, as well as the tragic consequences of his own inaction.

Alternating with Art's story is that of Joel, a teenaged runaway who owes his life to Art, and Wang Po, the mill's cook and a survivor of the Rape of Nanjing. Through the eyes of this trio of outsiders, the reader is brought deep into a morally ambiguous world, revealing a place where the undercurrents of violence are never far from the surface.


Praise for Patrick Lane's Deep River Night:

“Patrick Lane is one of the finest writers I know.”
—David Adams Richards, author of Principles to Live By

“Lane offers us a wise, profound meditation on loss, longing, and the struggle for redemption. It is a work of art in which every sentence sings, revealing love and beauty hidden in unexpected lives and places. Deep River Night is a wonder.” —Guy Vanderhaeghe, author of Daddy Lenin and Other Stories

“The power of Patrick Lane’s prose springs from lived experience, shaped and tempered by the astonishing skill acquired through a lifetime in poetry. Lane has history with this world, these men—the kind of history that sticks in the mind’s eye—and he lays bare the inner workings of a broken mind, sheltering against the unbearable past and bombarded by it anyway. This is a mourning book, elegiac, bloody, all fire and ashes, but taking great care for what gentleness may be left in the world.”
—Marina Endicott, author of Close to Hugh

“Ablaze with a savage compassion, Deep River Night is a vast, sweeping novel of war, loss, violence, and forgiveness. This is Patrick Lane’s song of experience, written in a prose of shadow and light, exquisite as an ink painting, exploring the ways the past will not leave us alone. It is a gorgeous, furious achievement, a work of art of the highest order.”
—Steven Price, author of By Gaslight


Genre: Fiction—Literary
Length: 416 pages (hc)
Publication Date: February 2017


Canada English rights, Penguin Random House Canada/McClelland & Stewart

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Author Name
PATRICK LANE's first novel, Red Dog, Red Dog, was a finalist for the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and was longlisted for the Giller Prize. Lane is one of Canada's pre-eminent poets, and his distinguished career spans fifty years and twenty-five volumes of poetry. His memoir, There Is a Season, won the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence and the inaugural British Columbia Award for Canadian Non-fiction, and was also a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the Hubert Evans Non-fiction Prize, the Pearson Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Non-fiction. He has been a writer in residence and teacher at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, the University of Victoria in British Columbia, and the University of Toronto in Ontario. Patrick Lane lives near Victoria, B.C., with his wife, the poet Lorna Crozier.