The Order of Good Cheer
Written by Bill Gaston
Publication Date June 01, 2009
Indian summer, 1607. Intrepid explorer and map-maker Samuel de Champlain has founded a new and precarious settlement in Annapolis Royal, New France (present-day Nova Scotia). As winter looms, two threats emerge: boredom amongst the men and the deadly sickness scurvy. Champlain hits upon the idea of a moveable feast -- an order of "good cheer" -- where nobles and men can enjoy good local food, excellent wine, and camaraderie.
Separated by the breadth of a continent and exactly four hundred years is twenty-first-century blue-collar worker Andy Winslow and his friends, whose urban landscape is threatened by encroaching environmental and economic disaster. In alternating narratives, award winning author and master storyteller Bill Gaston bridges the divide across land and time in this illuminating story about survival, love, friendship, and feast.
Bill Gaston is the author of several works of fiction, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Mount Appetite, the Governor General's Literary Award finalist Gargoyles, and the acclaimed novels, Sointula, The Good Body, and The Order of Good Cheer. Gaston was the inaugural recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada Timothy Findley Award, for a distinguished body of work. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
"...[The Order of Good Cheer is a] daring, big-hearted work." Montreal Gazette
"The Order of Good Cheer is a challenging and provocative book..." Georgia Straight
"...[Gaston] writes with a refreshing ground-level accuracy...[and] takes his readers on a very long and interesting trip through both time and space, without splattering them with ketchup or spilling drinks in their laps. Since this is a novel about food, that's really something." Vancouver Review
"...The novel could be viewed as a cousin to David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas...[a] daring, big-hearted work." Montreal Gazette
"[Gaston's] descriptions bring people and places vibrantly alive, and his prose shimmers with colour, humour and passion...[his] voice is utterly and thoroughly his own." Chronicle Herald
"...extraordinary...one of the most talented writers currently on the Canadian literary scene....The Order of Good Cheer is a feast of nuanced writing, blessed with one of those rare endings that are absolutely perfect. Gaston has crafted a bittersweet ode to friendship, loss, and near-hopelessness that lingers in the mind long after the story has come to a close..." Winnipeg Free Press
"The writing is wonderful, the characterizations strong...The Order of Good Cheer was difficult to set aside and will be impossible to forget." January Magazine