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Literature / North To Benjamin

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North To Benjamin is a novel by Alan Cumyn.

Edgar and his mother have gone up north to the town of Dawson in the Northwest Territories to house sit for a couple of months. In his life, Edgar and his mom have spent a lot of time traveling from one town to another, and as such, he's quite used to it. What has Edgar excited about this move, however, is the fact that the couple they are house sitting for has also asked them to look after their dog, Benjamin.

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As soon as they arrive, Edgar and his mom are given the welcome wagon in the form of Ceese and his daughter, Caroline. From there, Edgar and his mother seem to settle in quite nicely. Edgar and Caroline have hit it off, Edgar is quite taken by Benjamin, and Edgar's mom seems to fancy Ceese quite a bit, and vice versa.

However, Ceese has a girlfriend who's really friendly.

And what's worse, Edgar has all of a sudden found himself only able to communicate like a dog (though it DOES come with the added bonus of being able to understand Benjamin's words).

North To Benjamin was released on December 4th, 2018.


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North To Benjamin contains examples of:

  • Big, Friendly Dog: Benjamin is a very big dog.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The Paddle Wheel Graveyard, where old Paddle Boat ships are left after being decommissioned.
  • Determinator: Edgar becomes this at the end of the book when he decides to go to Victoria in West Dawson, which involves a trek across a frozen river, through snowy woods, and possibly risking frostbite, to tell her about Reese and his mother.
  • Gasshole: Benjamin is quite prone to farting.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Benjamin offers his body up to the wolf pack as food on the condition they let him and Edgar pass through to Caroline's house. Of course, that part didn't really happen outside Edgar's head.
  • No Ending: The book ends with Edgar, Caroline, and Victoria staring out over the Yukon River.
  • Sneaky Departure: Edgar leaves to go to Victoria's house in West Dawson after a party when everyone's asleep.
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  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Edgar, at one point in the book, suddenly finds himself able to understand Benjamin, and able to communicate with him. The trade-off, however, is that he can only speak by barking. When he gets to Victoria's house, however, he finds he can speak human again.
  • Verbal Tic: The wolf Edgar and Benjamin encounter in the woods seems to have a habit of saying a word three times.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ceese starts getting very close to Edgar's mom, despite having a girlfriend. Edgar is very concerned about this.

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