‘To See The Sky’ reviewed by ABC Book World, 2008
Born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta, criminal defence lawyer Christopher Nowlin lived in Ontario and Quebec before being called to the bar in B.C. His multi-faceted, self-published first novel To See the Sky (Granville Island 2008) is an ecologically sensitive crime novel set against the backdrop of controversial construction projects for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler. The title To See the Sky is derivative of the Sea-to-Sky Highway that connects Vancouver to Whistler. After the proposed expansion of that highway generates social unrest, two children disappear and their father becomes the main suspect. Elements of satire are mixed with the author’s fairy tale overview, making this story into a pentathalon of writing styles. Is it a literary novel, crime novel, satirical novel, fairy tale or social protest novel? Vancouver is renamed Olympia, West Vancouver becomes West Olympia, Squamish is Squamoosh and Penticton is Penwickton. The novel’s environmentally conscious protagonist, Demme Astrilsun, is independently wealthy. “I’ve lived in various cities across Canada,” he told the Calgary Herald, “and I’ve never witnessed the same sense of affluence, the same self-confidence that you get in Vancouver. I just wanted to question in a fairly satirical way the rationale that we need the rest of the world to put Vancouver in the spotlight [with the Olympics].”
Nowlin is also a painter with degrees in philosophy (MA) and criminology (Ph.D). He taught law for a year-and-a-half in the English midlands and contributed essays to the Canadian Criminal Law Review, the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, and Human Rights Quarterly.