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Dinner with Lisa by Rod Prendergast

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Dinner with Lisa by Rod Prendergast

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Dinner with Lisa is set in the disastrous economic times of the 1930s. Joseph Gaston, a young widower
with four children, arrives in the small town of Philibuster seeking security for his family. Instead, he faces barriers everywhere. He does his best despite great adversity, but the strain of feeding and protecting his family whittles away his strength. Finally, destitution forces him to consider giving up his children in order to save them. Enraged by his situation, he attempts one last desperate act—on the night he learns about the mysterious Lisa.

Heart wrenching, humorous and historically authentic, Dinner with Lisa incorporates the crucial issues of the depression: poverty, unemployment, drought and racism. In the midst of love and loyalty, trickery and despair, the ultimate message of the novel is one of hope and the courage to survive even the worst odds.

Author’s Note

Have you ever wished you’d written down the stories told you by your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles? I know I do. For years I listened to my relatives recounting their childhoods, speaking of the unusual characters they had known. People who did crazy things, and had nicknames like Hateful Dan, The Black Prince and Dumb Dora.

One story that always made me laugh was about the town drunk who beat the side of his brother’s ramshackle house with a 2 x 4 because the brother refused to give him $2 for liquor. The brother finally gave in when his wife yelled, “For God’s sake, give ‘im da money, or he’ll tear our house down.” Who beats a house with a 2 x 4 these days?

As a child, I enjoyed these anecdotes immensely, but I didn’t think about them after they’d been told. However, as I got older and the various relatives, including my grandparents, passed away, I wished someone had recorded their stories. Not long ago, I began asking my mother and father about some of the tales my grandparents used to tell. They remembered some details, but many of the stories had been forgotten – lost forever.

When I completed my first novel, a national bestseller, I did not intend to write another. I had said what I wanted to say. I enjoyed every minute of writing, editing, marketing and selling the novel, but the effort involved in giving birth to a book is enormous, and I didn’t want to go through the gestation and labour again.

But I began to write down the recollections of my parents and their older siblings, all now in their seventies and eighties. As the cache of tales grew – a great uncle’s experience in WW1, my mother’s memories of the neighbourhood corner store, my father’s memories of life on a dairy farm – I saw a connecting thread. Before long, I was researching the time periods in which the stories took place – and was inspired to write another novel.

About the Author

R. L. (Rod) Prendergast was the entrepreneurial kid you saw on your neighbourhood street selling lemonade on a hot summer’s day. Recognizing young Rod’s preoccupation with money, his mother bribed him to read with an offer of 25 cents per book—and instilled in him a lifelong love of reading.

Although he continued down the path of industry—he started and sold his first business before completing his Bachelor of Commerce—he continued to read voraciously. After a number of years working in sales, marketing and management, he spent a year’s sabbatical surfing and reading in New Zealand, and free of business pressures, he began to write.

Those first words became the backbone of The Impact of a Single Event—which was long listed for the Independent Publishers Book Award for literary fiction, and which became a national bestseller in Canada. Spurred on by the success of his first novel, he took another sabbatical and wrote Dinner with Lisa. He is currently working on his next book.

Read an INTERVIEW with Rod Prendergast

Read a REVIEW of Dinner with Lisa

Visit Rod Prendergast’s WEBSITE

Read an EXCERPT from Dinner with Lisa


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