A Good Day’s Work

In Pursuit of a Disappearing Canada

A Good Day’s Work is a lyrical journey through a semi-mythological place: the Canada of our imagination. It is the Canada of the day before yesterday. Or perhaps the Canada of 1967 – the country’s “Last Good Year,” as Pierre Berton dubbed it. It is a portrait of Canada captured by way of encounters with a blacksmith, a cowgirl, a milkman, a traveling salesman and other custodians of trades from another time. Woven into the always engaging, sometimes strange, sometimes moving and frequently funny interviews are the ruminations and personal reflections of that wonderful writer John DeMont (who as a newspaper reporter and columnist of a certain age is something of a vanishing tradesman himself).
The iconic Canada–the country of close-knit small towns, of common geography and history, of meaningful work and communal values and institutions–is being transformed. John DeMont has gone in search of people who make their living the old way, in an attempt to distill the essence of our shared past.

Reviews

The late novelist Kurt Vonnegut understood these costs. He once wrote about going to town to buy an envelope, though his wife sensibly suggested he save time and buy in bulk. ‘I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope,’ Vonnegut replied. ‘I meet a lot of people. And see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up… . The moral of the story is, we’re here on Earth to fart around. And of course the computers will do us out of that.’ To that lament, DeMont’s lively and meticulously reported account serves as a heartfelt amen.”
National Post 

A Good Day’s Work is a one-of-a-kind work and an important book… . as many Canadians as possible need to read it.”
The Guardian (Charlottetown).