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3.45  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In the 1950s, in the Ontario tobacco-growing community of Smoke, a young boy on the verge of manhood is scarred forever. A night out with his buddies, too much booze and a lit cigarette, and Buster McFiddie’s life will never be the same. Through the process of healing, one man’s voice speaks to him, softly, to ease his pain, spinning yarns of The Purple Gang, the notorious ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Penguin Canada
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3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  83 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Nov 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian-authors
This is a book about tobacco, wounds and the healing process. I love how the Buster is drawn out of his marginalization by the doctor - slowly and with great care. I love the stories within the story.

This is a book about transformation - on many levels.

Well told.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book. There was enough going on that it kept me entertained, but not too much so that it was difficult to keep track.
I also found it really cool to read a book that takes place in the county I live in.
My only complaint is that the identity of one of the characters/storylines is not revealed, and I'm really curious about who it was.
Waterloo Public Library
One Book, One Community Waterloo Region - 2007
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
To be completely honest I read this book only grudgingly at first. I had to fill in a book bingo square and this one fit the bill.

It soon won me over. The characters are full and complicated and soon I was very interested in the lives of these small town dwellers.

The style of the book reminds me of something familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it...a little The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence maybe?? Or at least how I remember it from my high-school days...

Overall a great book.

Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! It’s possible I was seduced by the familiarity of places like Tillsonburg and Norwich. Not likely I found much poetry in the tobacco farms. It might have been the 50’s I liked so much. No, Smoke was well put together; it was engaging from the first page. The author created believable characters for whom sympathy was effortless. The writing was pretty but neither excessive nor intrusive. Elizabeth Ruth had something to say and she made me want to listen: what you see is not always what y ...more
Donna Burtwistle-Popplewell
Jun 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
A compelling story of a local community of the 1950s--intrigue abounds...
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Exellent! particularly the end, read it all, don't cheat
Jacquie Verberne
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow! I loved this book. I live in the area, so I understood exactly where the locations were that Ruth was referring too. The!!
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Journey towards self-acceptance that goes beyond physical appearance. A surprise twist in the book that will be for you to discover.
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Elizabeth Ruth is a writer, creative writing instructor and mother living in Toronto, Canada. Her first novel, Ten Good Seconds of Silence was a finalist for the Writers' Trust of Canada Fiction Prize, the Best First Novel Award and the City of Toronto Book Award. Her critically acclaimed second novel, Smoke, was chosen for the One Book One Community program and named as a top-ten book o ...more
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