Consumption (Random House Canada, 2006)

Kevin Patterson was born in the province of Manitoba in Canada. He had vaguely thought of becoming a mechanic when he decided, on a whim, to follow his brother’s example and enroll in medical school without having first considered how he was going to finance his studies. This led him to a second perilous decision, namely to enlist in the Canadian army to pay his university tuition. He ended up on a military base a hundred kilometres or so from the nearest town. He had little to do and plenty of free time so he started writing short stories to occupy his days.
The army turned out to be the ideal place to achieve the transformation of Kevin Patterson from doctor to doctor-writer. What better advice to give any young writer eager to complete their first work than to : ’Find a job where you have to be awake, sober and dressed by seven o’clock in the morning otherwise someone will come to your door to bawl you out. The ideal job is one where you don’t have to pay too much attention to anything in particular and that pays well enough so that money doesn’t become a source of anxiety, and furthermore, doesn’t provide a single opportunity for an interesting conversation or any other form of intellectual stimulation.’ There are very few jobs like that, and, ’the job of Canadian military doctor in times of peace is really ideal.’
In the Canadian army, Kevin Patterson discovered writers like Redmond O’Hanlon, Paul Theroux, Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Eric Newby, the cream of Anglo-Saxon travel writers of the twentieth century. For him, the lure of the solitary nomad dates back to that period. And when he discovered Bruce Chatwin, he was just completely bowled over. Following a breakup, he decided to cast off on an old 37 footer and sailed from British Columbia to Tahiti ! He gives an account of that trip in The water in between : A journey at sea.
Kevin Patterson is a free spirit. He is an insolent wanderer of the Great White North with a keen sense of observation like his adventurous forerunners. He is a born traveller with a passion for the world around him. In 2007, he directed the publication of a collection of writings by soldiers in Afghanistan, before going there himself to spend six weeks in a NATO camp. Following that experience, he wrote a very controversial article on the death of a soldier : Talk to Me Like My Father published in the July-August 2008 issue of the American Mother Jones Magazine which attracted violent criticisms.
His first novel, Consumption, was meant at first to be a collection of short stories. But all the stories appearing to be related, when Kevin Patterson arrived in the French Polynesian Islands in the southern hemisphere after another six-week sail – with his computer on board - he had completed a novel.
Kevin Patterson has acquired a good knowledge of the Inuit, having lived in the North and practiced medicine there.
According to him, the Inuit have gone from being hunter-gatherers to using Facebook in something like a quarter of an hour. His novel Consumption focuses on just that, namely the cultural shock and the changes in mores they have undergone. The author tries to show his readers that what the peoples of the North have experienced over a very concentrated period of time is not very different from what has happened to more southern civilisations.
Kevin Patterson is now working on the second volume of a trilogy on his trips, and it will deal with his sails in the Northern Pacific.

in French

Bibliography :

  • Consumption (Random House Canada, 2006)
  • Outside The Wire : The War In Afghanistan In The Words Of Its Participants (Random House Canada, 2007)
  • Country of Cold (Vintage Canada, 2003)
  • The Water in Between : A journey at sea (Random House Canada, 1999)

Synopsis of Consumption :

Consumption is a haunting story of a woman’s life marked by struggle and heartbreak, but it is also much more. It stunningly evokes life in the far north, both past and present, and offers a scathing dissection of the effects of consumer life on both north and south. It does so in an unadorned, elegiac style, moving between times, places and people in beautiful counterpoint. But it is also a gripping detective story, and features medical reportage of the highest order.

Dans lumière du nord

Albin Michel - 2009

Dans la lumière du nord

Albin Michel - 2009

La consommation est un roman dans l’Arctique canadien, et raconte l’histoire de Victoria, qui est né dans la toundra dans les années 1950, mais qui laisse pour le sud et se développe l’habitude de la vie. Nord de vie des affrontements avec le sud de la vie, de Victoria et de ses enfants à s’adapter à la culture de choc-il tous par rapport à la viande de morse de restauration rapide ; TV par satellite et le soleil de minuit. À jeter dans le mélange, Keith Balthazar, un médecin de Yonkers qui vient à Rankin Inlet pour faire plus de mal que de guérir. Le livre de l’auteur, Kevin Patterson, lui-même un interniste qui vit sur l’île de Salt Spring, mais qui pratique dans l’Arctique, a parlé avec Joseph Planta à propos de son nouveau roman.

On l’appelle "nature writing"

Saint-Malo 2009
Lundi : 14h00 - On l’apelle "nature writing"
avec Mariusz Wilk, Kevin Patterson, Kristen Britain, Craig Johnson. Animé par Fabrice Ladreau

Peuples du Nord

Saint-Malo 2009
Lundi : 11h30 - Peuples du Nord
Mariusz Wilk, Frédéric Tonolli, Kevin Patterson. Animé par Willy Persello