Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ravine” as Want to Read:
The Ravine
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ravine

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  20 reviews
One morning in Don Mills, Phil and his brother Jay agree to let their friend Norman Kitchen tag along on an adventure down into a ravine — and what happens there at the hands of two pitiless teenagers changes all their lives forever. Years later the horrifying details are still unclear, smothered in layers of deliberate forgetting. Phil doesn’t even remember the names: Ted ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Vintage Canada (first published March 11th 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ravine, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Ravine

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 213)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Ben Babcock
This is my first Paul Quarrington book, but after reading it, I will definitely read more of his work. His writing reminds me of Douglas Coupland, only with a slightly more Ontario flair. As a resident of Thunder Bay, I smiled at the few scenes set there. It's nice reading fiction by Canadian authors set in Canada.

The last book that I read, Mistress of the Sun, had a great beginning but a lacklustre ending. The Ravine is the opposite: I wasn't too impressed by the beginning, but by the time I re
Aban (Aby)
I enjoyed this book which is sad but, at the same time, very funny. It's the story of Phil McQuigge who, having thoroughly messed up his life, is trying to reflect back on it and come to some sort of understanding of how it all went wrong. Pivotal to his retrospection is an incident that occurred in his childhood when he, his brother, and a friend were attacked by two older boys.

Then book tends to go back and forth in time and between a large variety of characters. Scenes and language are also '
Lynn Kearney
Probably only a 3.5 - the ground has been covered before - but I'd forgotten how funny he is. Good old Canadian content doesn't hurt either.
Despite the unattractive cover art, Paul Quarrington's The Ravine is a charming and quick read for those who enjoy unconventional narrative formats. Phil McQuigge, our main protagonist and narrator, tells the story of his life through a combination of tell-all novel excerpts, conversations turned television screenplay and snippets of diary-like explanations. The novel opens with a transcription of a call to a suicide helpline, with no context to frame it besides the dialogue itself. The Ravine i ...more
B. Glen Rotchin
This novel kept me at a distance most of the time. Partly, this was due to the nature of the protagonist, a guy who is essentially in denial (or as he puts it The Twilight Zone) about a traumatic incident that has supposedly altered the path of his life culminating in screwing up every decent and worthwhile relationship he ever had (wife, brother, friend). Phil is a hard guy to like and the only thing that keeps his voice from sounding self-pitying is its comic edginess, which kept me engaged. T ...more
I'll admit I rolled my eyes a little when I discovered The Ravine is a "novel within a novel." I thought, Ugh, this has been DONE--to death. But Paul Quarrington ensures that Phil McQuigge's voice is sound and distinct, and I enjoyed reading his "novel", especially because it is made clear that his perspective is flawed. For me, that is what made the book interesting, as it allowed me to imagine the "truth" rather than knowing it outright.

However, the book slowed down for me as I discovered the
I really wanted to like this book - it had the potential of being SOOO good - unfortunately I thought it was poorly written and I just couldn't get into it -
I finished it with the hopes it would improve - sadly it did not.
The Ravine is the 2nd Paul Quarrington book I have read and I love his quirky writing. This story follows 2 brothers as they deal in adulthood the trauma they suffered in childhood. I love the dialogue, it is realistic and humerous even if it is dealing with the darker side of life.
Wendy Hearder-moan
Interesting narrative techniques and local colour kept me reading, but I couldn't relate to any of the characters.
Paul Quarrington continues to be one of my favorite writers. The fact that he is Canadian only increases the bliss.
His description is delightful with language such as, "The hair was sandy and tired and would have been happier on the head of a bank manager. It lay on top of his head like tangled bedsheets, and no doubt contributed heavily to his air of bitterness. Which was obvious."
Quarrington is funny even at the most sensitive moments and slaps you in the face when you are not expecting.
Try an
not an overly long novel, the author tells the tale he sets out to tell without dragging it out. it's sad and funny and the characters are hapless and at times careless with their lives, but they are likeable and i find myself rooting for each of them. and i loved the ending. simple and in keeping with the story - it feels true.

endings seem difficult for story tellers, so i really appreciate the ones that feel right - the way this one feels right
- from the jacket: "One morning in Don Mills, Phill and his brother Jay agree to let their friend Norman Kitchen tag along on an adventure down into a local ravine - and what happens there at the hands of two pitiless teenagers changes all their lives forever. Years later the horrifying details are still unclear, smothered in layers of deliberate forgetting."
- not bad
Tina Siegel
I wasn't sure Quarrington's meta style of narrative, the writing about writing and self-awareness of the storyteller. But it did. It was distancing (which the narrator himself admits that he's trying to get from his own life) but I still enjoyed the book. I kept on reading. That's a testament to Quarrington's skill as a writer. Not for everyone, but definitely a good read.
I am putting todays date as the date I finished reading this book. To be honest I tried and TRIED to get through it but was completely uninterested in it and finally gave up. I think this is the only book I have not completed in the last 6 years at LEAST. I RARELY do not finish a book even if I don't like it.
Sorry... I couldn't even force myself through this one.
There are moments, including the ending, that are terribly clunky and I think the central conciete is lame, but Quarrington is funny and finally, even though the protagonist us a complete putz, he is endearing. Plus I was never bored, and I looked for opportunities to pick it up.
A well known Canadian author - this book set in Toronto about a man's bad childhood experience in a Toronto ravine ( came a bit close to home)
Quarrington has an interesting style of writing - sometimes you ahve to guess between the lines, but it was quite a good read.
Didn't enjoy this book that deals with adults trying to come to terms with an episode of abuse that took place long ago in their neighbourhood ravine.
LOVE the way this man writes...real...yet not...not my usual novel...not my usual characters...but interesting because of that perhaps?
Not quite sure I like his writing style. He lost me a few times.
Just couldnt get into this... ...more
Peter Scheffel
Peter Scheffel marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2015
Mitch is currently reading it
Aug 23, 2015
Nancy added it
Jun 30, 2015
Tina Denson
Tina Denson marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2015
Krista marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2015
Jo marked it as to-read
Jun 06, 2015
Loisa added it
May 25, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • How Happy to Be
  • Magnified World
  • Mister Sandman
  • Fall from Grace
  • Kilter
  • Small Change
  • Verdict in Blood (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #6)
  • Buffalo Jump (Jonah Geller #1)
  • Sign of the Cross
  • Wild Geese (New Canadian Library)
  • Exit Lines
  • How to Be a Canadian
  • The World More Full of Weeping
  • Amphibian
  • Sisters In The Wilderness: The Lives Of Susanna Moodie And Catharine Parr Traill
  • The Withdrawal Method
  • Holding Still For As Long As Possible
  • Stony River
Paul Quarrington was a novelist and musician, an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker, and an acclaimed non-fiction writer. His last novel The Ravine was published in March 2008. His previous novel Galveston was nominated for the Giller; Whale Music won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Quarrington won the Stephen Leacock Medal for King Leary, a title that also won the 2008 Canada Reads c ...more
More about Paul Quarrington...
King Leary Whale Music Galveston The Spirit Cabinet Home Game

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“The man behind the check-in counter gives the impression that he has just axe-murdered the motel's owner (and family, and family pet) and is going through these procedures of hostelry so as not to arouse suspicion.” 15 likes
“Like all of my important memories, it has a potency that has influenced the pocket of time that holds it, so I can remember that particular Saturday afternoon, even though in many ways it was no different from any other. I can remember, for example, what van der Glick was wearing as she stepped out of the elevator, which was a dress covered with clownish polka dots. Rainie would make these heartbreaking stabs at femininity; indeed, she still does. It's not that she doesn't possess a woman's body now, and didn't posses a girl's body then. But clothes never seemed to fit her correctly, and the more girlish they were, the worse they would hang.” 2 likes
More quotes…