Twelve-year-old Jasper is watching his mother, a sometime model named Corinne, prepare herself for what he does not realize will become an unannounced escape from the life they share in Winnipeg. A short trip out of the city turns into what Corinne calls a summer of adventure, as they drive with no set destination across the prairies. Dean, the generous story-telling boyfriend Corinne is determined to flee, vanishes in the dust rising behind her Corvair – the last and biggest gift he gave her. As Jasper and his mother settle briefly in Edmonton, and then flee again for Vancouver, Jasper feels like an exile from a life in Winnipeg that offered stability, a place to find himself, and – in Dean – a substitute for the father he never knew.
In a Wide Country is the moving story of a mother and son traveling together, but in different directions, across western Canada in the summer of 1961. It’s about two people living in a web of stories, spun from their experiences but also from things they’ve heard, imagined, or misunderstood. In this debut novel by Robert Everett-Green, stories blend into each other from many sources: family anecdotes, movies, newspapers and tales that Corinne improvises at her makeup table.
In a Wide Country is about growing up along the soft border between truth and illusion, and a boy’s awakening from a childhood ruled by stories more satisfying than true.