Raisin Wine: A Boyhood in a Different Muskoka

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McClelland & Stewart, Feb 24, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages
A warm, at times hilarious, yet dark childhood memoir from a bestselling author.

This memoir recalls the boyhood years of Ontario’s future lieutenant-governor, living in a dilapidated old house complete with outdoor toilet and coal oil-lamp lighting. Behind the outrageous stories, larger-than life-characters, and descriptions of the mores of a small village in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country are flashes of insight from the perspective of a child that recall the great classic Who has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell.

But why "a different Muskoka?" Because the boy was a half-breed kid. Visits to his mother’s reserve showed him that he was caught between two worlds. His mother’s fight with depression flowed from that dilemma. His father — the book’s main character — was a lovable, white, working class, happy-go-lucky guy who never had any money but who made the best home brew in the village — and his specialty was raisin wine.

Like that raisin wine, this unusual book goes down easily and has a kick to it.
 

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Contents

ONE Voices in the Wind I
11
THREE Tough Times
32
FOUR The Mother
44
FIVE The Hero
59
SIX Trick or Treat
71
SEVEN The Entrepreneur
92
EIGHT The Father
119
NINE The Voices of the Pioneers
148
ELEVEN A Time of Transition
169
TWELVE Blood Sports
181
THIRTEEN Coming of Age
201
FOURTEEN The Fathers Secret
226
FIFTEEN Raisin Wine
240
Epilogue
257
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About the author (2009)

James K. Bartleman went on to have a very distinguished career in Canada’s foreign service, described in his books On Six Continents and Rollercoaster. He is the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.

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