Joanne Proulx - Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet (3 stars)

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Joanne Proulx - Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet

(Picador)

TEEN DRAMA

Hot on the heels of Academy Award-winning comedy Juno comes another enjoyable tale of a smart-mouthed North American trying to make sense of the adult world. Joanne Proulx’s debut centres around Luke Hunter who, in the opening scene, ‘bullshits’ his best pal by telling him exactly when and where the friend is going to die. When fate calls Luke’s bluff and events unfold exactly as he foretold, Luke is terrified, and recoils from his friends and family as any number of interested parties start staking their claim on him.

As in Diablo Cody’s literate script for Juno, Proulx succeeds in overturning the caricature of the morose, inarticulate teenager, to create a first person narrative voice that, while colloquial, is richly detailed and highly nuanced. The compassion and insight Proulx extends to her troubled young protagonist is also striking, while the black humour she draws from Luke’s daily struggle to carve out his own identity is extremely infectious.

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