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It’s 1979 and Tom Buzby is thirteen years old and living in the small working-class city of Chatham, Ontario. So far, so normal. Except that Tom’s dad is the local tattoo artist, his mother is a born-again former stripper who’s run off with the minister from the church where the pet store used to be, and his sister can’t wait to leave town for good. And everybody along his daily newspaper route looks at him a little differently, this boy who’s come back from the dead, who just might be the only one who understands the miraculous, heart-breaking mystery that is their lives.

Set in the year that real newspaper headlines told of North America’s hard turn to the right, 1979 offers a small-town take on the buried lives of those who almost never make the news, and one boy’s attempt to make sense of it all.

Praise for 1979

“Ray has a light touch; writes clean, punchy sentences; and has a musicality and movement in his prose that is a singular gift. I’ll drop pretty much anything to read whatever he writes.”

– David Worsley, Words Worth Books(Waterloo, ON)

“Ray Robertson is one of those rare writers who has both swagger and soul.”

—NOW Magazine

“An uplifting read… the style is writerly, self-conscious and poignant… a redemptive story about love despite the prevalence and certainty of death.”

– The Globe and Mail

“If you can remember the year 1979, this novel will fill you with nostalgia. If not, this novel will make you feel like you were there.”

– Winnipeg Free Press

“Sharp-tongued… as Robertson ponders family and home as well as ‘what it means to love someone and to lose some- one and to have to go on living anyway,’ he presents an intriguing character whose very real troubles are o set by bright ashes of hope.”

– Publisher’s Weekly

“Robertson’s art is as character-driven as Mordecai Richler’s… he wants us to behave better and doesn’t care who he angers along the way.”

– The Globe and Mail