Lorne Elliott is at his satirical best in his new novel A Few White Lies. Thea, the whip-smart, feisty, resourceful, and haiku-writing teenage narrator, joins the roster of memorably high-spirited and young female protagonists from Matilda to Lisa Moore’s Flannery Malone. Thea flies from Haida Gwaii, where she lives with her café-owning mother, to St. John’s. Her heroic ordeal is to help her ever-floundering, musician-songwriter father, Grady Jordan, drive a purple limousine, which he claims he won at cards, across Canada. Long estranged from her unreliable father, and possessing both caustic wit and principled integrity, Thea must contend with his spurious schemes and uproarious confabulations. En route, they become enmeshed with Chuck T, a scurrilous and menacing country rock musician, an Indigenous land protest and its media circus, and an opportunistic music star, Daisy Ratzinger, idolized by Thea’s best friend, Marcia. En route, like voyageurs before them, Thea and Grady navigate the rapids and rocks of their relationship, struggling to paddle in synch.
Lorne Elliott’s deep and loving knowledge of Canada, and of our music scene, permeates this road-trip novel with its reversal of parent-child roles. His satire, this time channeled exquisitely through Thea’s voice, mind, and spirit, is, as always, compassionately and poignantly humane and laugh-out-loud hilarious.