The Geography of Pluto

The Geography of Pluto

Book - 2014
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Univ of Toronto Pr

Twenty-eight-year-old Will, a teacher living in Montreal, has spent the last few months recovering from a breakup with his first serious boyfriend, Max. He has resumed his search for companionship, but has he truly moved on?

Will’s mother Katherine — one of the few people, perhaps the only one, who loves him unconditionally — is also in recovery, from a bout with colon cancer that haunts her body and mind with the possibility of relapse.

Having experienced heartbreak, and fearful of tragedy, Will must come to terms with the rule of impermanence: to see past lost treasures and unwanted returns, to find hope and solace in the absolute certainty of change.

In The Geography of Pluto, Christopher DiRaddo perfectly captures the ebb and flow of life through the insightful, exciting, and often playful story of a young man’s day-to-day struggle with uncertainty.



Publisher: Toronto : Cormorant Books, 2014
ISBN: 9781770863644
Characteristics: 277 p

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ksoles Jun 27, 2014

Ostensibly, "The Geography of Pluto" tells Will Ambrose's story, both in the present and in memories. Taking readers through Will's coming of age and his coming out, it reads much like a long get-to-know-you brunch conversation: casual, intense and sometimes rambling. Christopher DiRaddo focuses on Will's relationships to depict an ultimately likeable narrator, the most important one being with his (single) mother. Will's fickle but loyal best friend Angie and his ex-boyfriend Max certainly cause him anguish but, though each of these kinships has its struggle and its climax, they teach Will that only the most important relationships endure.

Though "The Geography of Pluto" explores profound themes such as the clash between romantic love and familial love, the courage of straying from expectations and the fragility of the human body, the book's setting emerges as its most important thread. Anyone who has visited or lived in Montreal will appreciate the presence of the vibrant city's personality; the markets, the mountain, Dawson College, the gay village and even the quirks of engaging in "frenglish" conversations feature just as prominently as the human characters.

In trying to amass so many ideas and emotions, DiRaddo sometimes pens clumsy dialogue and mechanical scenes. He also tends to make too-grand declarations about life and death and sweeping proclamations about "what it's like for gay men." When Will questions his own actions, his uncertainty seems forced and unnecessary; readers can detect Will's emotions without having them spelled out. However, throughout the book, you'll root for Will. You'll sympathize with his heartbreak, feel irritated by his relationship gaffes and respect his closeness to his mother. And, of course, you'll want to explore his dear Montreal, the city for which his love never wanes.

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