In 1953, Joyce Pelley is looking to escape her troubled family and the unchanging life of a quiet Newfoundland outport. She boards a train to Gander, another small Newfoundland town, but one caught in the slipstream of the modern age. Gander International Airport is among the busiest in the world, a hub of non-stop international traffic, the surrounding town abuzz with youth, swagger, and postwar prosperity.

Joyce takes a job with Trans Canada Airlines and a room at the airport dormitory. Soon she is singing with a local big band, juggling a 24-hour work, play, music, and romance, and trying to find her future in a Newfoundland her parents never dreamed of, even as its fleeting promise slips away.

In 2017, Joyce’s son faces a much different challenge. Herb Carter left Gander many years ago, and devoted his youth to a failed marriage and a failed music career in Toronto. He’s working on a fresh start—new family, new career—but history won’t let him go. Joyce is now in her eighties, and her move to a nursing home stirs up the past in troubling ways.

More recent history surfaces as well: Herb’s ex-wife and ex-musical soul mate is dying of cancer. Her proposal for their long-dormant archive of music leads to a battle between them. It’s a fight for the past that could have serious consequences for the future he has so carefully pieced together.

The End of Music is a novel of two generations, two lives immersed in music, and two people forced to come to terms with the past and the future.


You Could Believe in Nothing Cover Art

Derek is 41 years old. His girlfriend has just left town. His father, a DJ at the local classic rock station, is about to go to court. His rec hockey team is up in arms about a TV reporter’s attempts to glorify their weekly games. And Derek’s body seems to be giving up on him little by little.

When Derek’s half-brother makes a rare trip home, the visit stirs up nagging questions about their parents’ early days. Derek is driven to re-examine what it means to make commitments that may or may not bring real happiness.

You Could Believe in Nothing portrays a group of men who have grown up after the decline of whatever might have been the real Newfoundland, Derek and his teammates occupy urban, mostly wayward lives. But they know who they are.

Set into a wet spring in St. John’s, its rinks, streets, and landmarks, and the sunken map of old haunts, You Could Believe in Nothing is a biting, often hilarious study in familiarity, underlining how little we sometimes know about the people and places we know best, including ourselves.