The Curve of Time: national bestseller after more than 50 years

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The Curve of Time, reprinted in 2011 by Whitecap BooksIt’s been incredibly exciting seeing Sensational Vancouver claim the top spot on the Best of BC list for the past four weeks, and it’s made me pay close attention to the book section in the Vancouver Sun.

What I’ve noticed is that M. Wylie Blanchet’s The Curve of Time, has ranked in the top 10 on the National Bestsellers list for the past seven weeks.

This is absolutely phenomenal. Not only is the book written about Vancouver Island, but it was first published over half a century ago.

Whitecap Books published a 50th Anniversary edition in 2011. Steph Hill, publicist, was equally mystified, and couldn’t tell me why a regional book is doing so well on the national scene after such a long time in print.

If you haven’t had the pleasure, it’s certainly worth a read. In 1922 “Capi,” her husband Geoffrey and their five kids moved out to Vancouver Island from Montreal. They bought a house on property near the Swartz Bay Ferry.

Five years later Geoffrey took out their boat one day and never returned.

Widowed at 33, and the sole support for five children aged between two and 14 in an economy teetering on the brink of the Depression, Capi survived by renting out her house for the summers, packing up the kids and Pam the Irish Setter and sailing around B.C.’s rugged coastline.

Vancouver Sun's National Bestseller List for non-fiction August 30, 2014
Vancouver Sun’s National Bestseller List for non-fiction August 30, 2014

The book is an account of those trips.

“Destiny rarely follows the pattern we would choose for it and the legacy of death often shapes our lives in ways we could not image,” she writes in The Curve of Time.

In 1949, Capi and her son David built a small house on the cliff of their property.

I wrote about Capi, her house, her boat and her kids in Sensational Victoria in 2012. The current owner bought the property in the early 1990s and gave me a tour of her house.  It’s a beautiful place with an amazing view, but what I loved is that while the house has been remodeled and enlarged over the years, they have built the house around Capi’s livingroom and two bedrooms. The cedar that she and David hand-hewn to make the cathedral ceiling and the walls, as well as the original rock fireplace, remain unaltered.

Capi's house on Tyron Road, Eve Lazarus photo, 2012
Capi’s house on Tyron Road, Eve Lazarus photo, 2012

The truly tragic thing was that Capi Blanchet was found dead at her typewriter shortly after her book was published, never knowing the success that her book would enjoy.

© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus.

 

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7 comments

  1. I didn’t know the house still existed! I was under the impression it was long gone. I’ve got Curve…, Following The Curve of Time, and the anniversary edition. Love it. A blend of practicality, romance of the islands, and occasional spookiness.

  2. Hello Eve, Thanks so much for this: I had no idea. ‘The Curve of Time’ just happens to be on my bedside table yet again. I occasionally lend it to visitors as the quintessential tome about the BC coast. Thrilled that it made the Top Ten—so deserved. I truly appreciate your blog.

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