Monday, July 5

Book Review: Nights Below Station Street

Title: Nights Below Station Street

Author: David Adams Richards

Pages: 232

Summary: Nights Below Station Street is David Adams Richards's haunting chronicle of life among the working classes in a small northern New Brunswick mill town.

It is Christmas of 1972, and the novel centres on the Walsh family. There is the father, Joe, strong, cheerful and optimistic in the face of continuing unemployment. There is the wife, Rita, hard-working and willing to believe the best about people, and there is their teenage daughter Adele, whose explosive but caring relationship with her father wars constantly with her desire for independence. Richards uses his remarkable powers of observation and sympathy to delineate his character's wayward emotions and their inner lives.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Although I liked the style of David Adams Richards writing, simple yet amazing prose, and his ability to give a clear picture on the life of the working class people, which was done incredibly well. I just couldn’t get into the book.

One of the reasons was that I disliked every character. I can respect that they were struggling with life; trying to make it to the next day, try to make the best with what they have, fight their own individual demons, and basically get through life with what they had. And there was a twist in the end I didn’t see coming, but I just couldn’t feel sorry for a single character and the predicament they were in. The story is a wonderful example of people who are just trying to live their lives the best they can with what they got, while the fight to step out of issues such as alcoholism (even if they fail at it) and make a better life for themselves and their family, but I couldn’t feel any emotion for any of the characters, to really get something out of the book and enjoy it.

Would I recommend it to read: It’s well written, I can say that, so I think there are some people who would enjoy it, so I might recommend it on that level, but I’m not sure it would be high up on my recommendation list. I have to other books by the author (part of a series), so we’ll see how things go. (The trilogies all have the same setting - working class people in New Brunswick - but from what I understand have separate characters with a few connections in the other two books).

What to read next: Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace, For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down (books two and three in the Miramichi Trilogy).

Challenges: Read and Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge, RYOB Challenge


  1. Oh, I am sorry to hear that you couldn't connect with this book. Sometimes I like a disgruntled character, but when I can't care about anyone in the book, it usually makes for an unpleasant read for me. I think I will probably end up skipping this one, but I do thank you for your honest review!

  2. Sorry this wasn't a better experience for you. I've only read Mercy Among the Children so far and I enjoyed it immensely. I still hope to read this one as I want to read more of his work and don't want to start in the middle of a series.
    Thanks for an honest review. It will be interesting to compare my thoughts on it.

  3. Zibilee - It was hard to read a book when you dislike the characters, but it was nice to try out a new author. And I haven't been turned off of him yet. I'll try him out again, sometime.

    Sandra - I've heard good things about that book, perhaps it's the book I should try next of his.

  4. I read this one when I was pregnant with my first child and enjoyed it. I remember though, that it made me a little nervous about my impending responsibility to, and future relationship with, the little one I was carrying—a daughter, 20-y's.o. next month, an independant thinker but otherwise nothing like Adele (thank goodness)!

    Never did get around to reading the follow up books in this trilogy but I did catch the CBC movies of Nights Below Station Street and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down and thought both were quite good.

    More recently, Mercy Among the Children and The Friends of Meager Fortune were two other D.A.R books that I enjoyed.

  5. Wanda - You're the second person to recommend the book to me, I stopped by and read your review, doesn't look half bad so I may have to check out the book someday.