"The world’s biggest book club…"

Based on uncorrected proof from HarperCollins Canada (February 2006).

Journal entry 2 by Wings
details… from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
on Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Book rating: 9/10 stars

In Reparations, Stephen Kimber has compiled a compelling cast of characters in a riveting legal thriller about two friends; one white, one black and the secrets they’ve kept. Twenty-five years after becoming friends, these two face each other in the courtroom. Ward Justice is the white judge with other things on his mind. Uhuru [Melesse] is the black lawyer using an embezzlement case to argue that the blacks forced from their homes in Africville are due reparations.

Most of the action and story takes place out of the courtroom. Through a series of flashbacks, the author shows us the events that shaped the friends lives and the people who influenced them. Slowly but surely, Kimber reveals the secrets, some of which have been kept for a lifetime.

There’s pretty much something for everyone in this book. There’s plenty of suspense, love, pride, political corruption and a “can’t put the book down” climax.

With all of the jumping back and forth in time, I admit I was lost a few times. In the end, though, it all made sense. Kimber did a fantastic job of bundling up all of the pieces into a coherent and gripping story.

While I enjoyed reading the whole novel, there were sections I liked more than others. I loved reading about Desmond (Ward’s father), the fisherman and the strike. It wasn’t a happy event, but it was interesting. I felt the same way about the eviction of Africville. Also, although I don’t have a strong interest in politics, I was fascinated by the buying/fixing of votes in rural Nova Scotia.

I never got a good handle on the “Jack Eagleson” character. He was so central to the story, but I just couldn’t figure him out. Was he a hero or the devil in disguise? He did some great things, but his influence and actions weren’t always on the level.

I’d like to briefly mention the acknowledgements at the end, after the story in which the author thanks those who helped him. It’s easy to forget that the author puts in a tremendous amount of work with research and such before words ever get to the page. It’s nice to be reminded of that.

Reparations is a truly outstanding piece of work by an exceptional storyteller.

I’d definitely recommend this book to others. I have another book by Kimber, Sailors, Slackers and Blind Pigs. I haven’t read it yet, but this one was so good, I’m going to have to read it soon.