Arms — in my household these days, “The Book” — took over my life for much of the past four years. It has been a tough go: the subject is huge, and the story ever-developing. I have been in rewrites right down to the wire. You think you’ve got it done and then something happens out in the world, and it’s back to work — not because what you’d written was wrong, but because whatever just happened needs to go in there, to illustrate the point. But now we’re down to it: the book is out in June.
When I foolishly suggested that a book on the gun culture would be a good fit for Biblioasis’ non-fiction list, people commonly reacted to the idea by remarking that Canada has no gun culture. Since then, Justin Bourque shot three RCMP officers, his shooting spree motivated by ideas borrowed directly from the nuttier extremes of America’s gun culture. And one of Canada’s two main gun lobby groups, the National Firearms Association, reacted to that shooting spree with an ill-timed press release demanding that the government repeal the Firearms Act, a release that glossed neatly over the fact that the NFA itself is the chief importer of those same ideas to Canada. None of that was visible when I set out to do this thing; the NFA, which had been essentially moribund following the death of its former president, was only just pulling itself together again.
No one still believes that Canada has no gun culture. And The Book is getting attention, although it is still four months from hitting bookstore shelves. The Globe & Mail stuck it on their list of fifty most-anticipated books. The Toronto Star put it on their list of twenty-five books they can’t wait to read. And CBC books put it on their fifteen non-fiction books to watch for. Naturally, I have to brag about all that. What else is a writer’s blog for?
Well, there’s not much to brag about. An accident of timing, mostly, partly just because this book has been delayed. But it’s nice to know that people are paying attention.