All My Sins

Daryl Sneath. Now or Never (LitDistCo, North American dist.), $19.95 trade paper (231p) ISBN 978-1-926942-61-2
Daryl Sneath's debut novel holds nothing back as he flawlessly weaves a tale of regret, love and vengeance set between the rolling backdrops of Newfoundland and Ireland. Sneath's writing is raw, relatable and he captivates readers by following his main character Ben Dunn as he careens through crises without a hint of uncertainty. "As a teacher, I was supposed to be morally upstanding. A pillar of goodness," Ben says prior to retelling his intimate run-in with a student, recent arrest for trafficking marijuana to another and forced removal from the high school where he taught English midway through a lesson on Hamlet's last speech. All the while, he has left his heart in Dun Laoghaire, but he doesn't want sympathy. He knows "we can't all be heroes… [and] the world needs a bum or two." While readers may be able relate to Ben's misfortunes and recently demolished reputation, his bitter and damaged demeanor sheds little positive light on his future. Sneath is able to draw readers in and not allow them to look away from this man's recent string of misfortunes, leaving them to decide for themselves whether Ben is getting what he deserves or is simply acting out the wrong play at the wrong time. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/12/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
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