"Country of Cold is a terrific book. Kevin Patterson writes frequently about misfits and loners, but he presents them with such hard-edged clarity and insight that it’s impossible not to think of these people as kin. And whether it’s slapstick hilarity in a prairie Dairy Queen or the dead-serious menace of a winter storm north of the treeline, the writing is always pitch perfect." -Michael Crummey, author of River Thieves
Graduating from high school in a small Canadian town, you are immediately faced with two stark choices: leave or stay. Country of Cold follows the stories of a disparate group of Dunsmuir, Manitoba’s class of 1980, most of whom leave, imagining that life happens elsewhere. They flee to the freedom of the big cities of the world and the far corners of Canada, but many end up feeling rootless and alone, whether as a physician in an Arctic Inuit community, a temporary boyfriend in Paris, or a student in the McGill Ghetto. The characters attempt to unravel the impossible puzzles of adulthood -- searching for answers by hurtling over falls in a barrel, building a boat to escape a teen-daughter-gone-bad, or embarking on an unlikely affair with a two-bit wrestler.
Nominated for the BC Book Prize's Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize 2004
Winner of the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize 2003
Praise for Country of Cold
"Vivid. . . Patterson makes this country exotic." -The New York Times
"Patterson… [has] a keen eye for defining images and motifs that will linger long in the reader's memory." -The Globe and Mail
“An exceptional first work of fiction” -The Washington Post Book World
"Tracks eccentric and genuinely torn-up characters through barren, dramatic regions. . . Patterson . . . writes with the power of Russell Banks or Annie Proulx." -Publishers Weekly
“[Patterson]… has made the leap to fiction with startling grace… Patterson manoeuvres his characters with a considerate, deft touch. These are lonely people trying to persuade themselves they aren't, and Patterson is respectful of their ordinary tragedies and sympathetic to their lush disenchantments.” -Georgia Straight
“A masterful debut short-story collection . . . The stories are rich in event. . . but it’s in characterizations that Patterson shines, capturing shades of ambiguity, uncertainty and small happines with a deft touch.” -Vancouver Sun
Kevin Patterson grew up in Selkirk, Manitoba, and put himself through medical school by enlisting in the Canadian Army. When his stint was up, he worked as a doctor in the Arctic and on the B.C. coast while studying for his MFA at UBC. He is currently an internist, living on Salt Spring Island. His previous book, a collection of short stories called Country of Cold, was the winner of the inaugural City of Victoria Butler Book Prize as well as the prestigious Roger's Writers' Trust Award.
Kevin Patterson spent three months in the winter of 2007 working at a hospital in Kandahar, treating civilians and soldiers alike. Drawing from the experience, he is co-editing Outside the Wire, an anthology of writing about the war in Afghanistan in the words of soldiers, doctor and volunteers who have experienced it. It is due out in December 2007 with Random House Canada.