I Was There the Night He Died
Ray Robertson is an irrepressible voice, with brass balls, and a heart of gold. I Was There the Night He Died is a hilarious, moving, insightful, and timely piece of modern realism, delightfully void of literary pretension. Here, at last, is a novel that rocks and rolls.
—Jonathan Evison (author of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving)
"So," she says. "Who died tonight?"
Sam Samson, meet Samantha. Sam's a novelist: his dad has Alzheimer's, his mother died of stroke, his wife was killed seventeen months ago in a car crash. Samantha, eighteen, is a cutter. She lives across the street from Sam's parents' house. Marijuana and loneliness spark an unlikely friendship, which Sam finds hard to navigate, especially as his dad's condition worsens and the money for his care suddenly vanishes. Yet somehow, between a record player and a park bench, through late-night conversations about the deaths of Sam's musical heroes, and ultimately through each other, Sam and Samantha learn to endure the things they fear most.
Starring a 40-something writer who stumbles through the small town he thought he'd left behind forever, and a marooned teenager who wishes she were anywhere else, I Was There The Night He Died is a saucy, swaggering look at loss, love, and the redeeming power of music in the twenty-first century.
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Ray Robertson is the Jerry Lee Lewis of North American Letters.
—Chuck Kinder (author of Honeymooners and The Last Mountain Dancer)
Ray Robertson is the author of the novels Home Movies, Heroes, Moody Food, Gently Down the Stream, What Happened Later, David, and I Was There the Night He Died, as well as two collections of non-fiction: Mental Hygiene: Essays on Writers and Writing and, most recently, Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live, which was short-listed for the Hillary Weston Prize for non-fiction and long-listed for the Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction. He lives in Toronto.
Clever, word-drunk, and falling-down funny...Robertson is a moral writer and a bitingly intelligent one, a man who writes with penetrating insight of what needs to be written about: beauty, truth and goodness.
—Globe and Mail
One of Canada's finest novelists.