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Breakfast at the Exit Cafe: Travels Through America

Breakfast at the Exit Cafe by Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds

Breakfast at the Exit Cafe, by Wayne Grady & Merilyn Simonds, is part travelogue, part exploration—a road trip into the reality behind the cultural myth that is America.

~ 2010 Globe 100 Boook

~ Apple Canada Best of 2010 iBook

~  januarymagazine Best Book of 2010

Breakfast at the Exit Cafe begins as a personal story—told in alternating voices by two veteran writer/travellers—of a road trip from British Columbia around the southern rim of the United States, back to their home in southeastern Ontario. It soon becomes a journey of discovery. For Wayne, who was born across the river from Detroit, Michigan, and whose forebears were slaves who came to Canada in the 1870s, it was a journey into fear — the fear of racism, of violence — and into his own family roots in the American Deep South. For Merilyn, who grew up a lonely Canadian in the American School of Campinas, Brazil, it was a journey into the ex-pat promised land, the nation of the American Dream.

Simonds and Grady travel backwards through history, from California, the last frontier of American westward expansion, to the earliest founding settlements of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Roanoke, North Carolina. In pondering the natural splendours of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River and the Mississippi, the bayous of Louisiana, and the Outer Banks, they consider the impact of physical geography on culture and of culture on the landscape. The Americans they meet along the way—eating in restaurants, manning motel offices, waiting in line for the Martin Luther King Day parade—illuminate a country dissolving in the grip of the final years of the Bush administration, and inspire them to reassess their—and our—assumptions about that powerful and complicated country.

As serendipitous as the trip itself, Breakfast at the Exit Cafe is told with wit and acuity and frequent side trips into fascinating nooks of history, geography, literature. Part travelogue, part exploration, part mid-winter love story, this is a journey into the heart of the next-door neighbour we thought we knew.


Joseph Boyden liked it!  “Grady and Simonds entertain and enlighten in a foreign yet familiar world—a brilliant road trip I didn’t want to end.”

Linda Spalding did, too. “A fascinating portrait of a country from the outside and a marriage from the inside.”

Sandra Gulland wrote: “A delightful travel memoir—big-hearted, smart, intimate, funny and wise. A trip well worth taking.”

And Ronald Wright, author of What is America? agreed. “Grady and Simonds bring their well-honed cultural and literary sensibilities to bear on a revealing road trip through our southern neighbour.”

Wayne and Merilyn

Wayne Grady & Merilyn Simonds

Visit us at www.breakfastattheexitcafe for excerpts, photos, and a video book trailer.

[tags]Travel, Memoir, Literary Couples[/tags]

Short URL: http://www.bookclubbuddy.com/?p=1797

Posted by Pearl on May 31 2011. Filed under Nonfiction. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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