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Friday, February 20, 2009

Literature: Chris Walter


Junkie past informs Chris Walter's punk prose

Vancouver novelist Chris Walter's best-selling title, 2004's East Van, begins with a strung-out junkie, Dill, trying to sell books he found in a garbage bin to an unimpressed used-bookstore clerk. The description of the transaction is remarkably true to life, making one think that the 6-4, amply tattooed writer has some experience trolling back lanes with a shopping cart. Walter, however, reveals that he “just faked that stuff”.

“But I'm an addict, and I've pawned or sold all manner of items but books,” he says, talking with the Straight at the kitchen table of his spacious, two-bedroom apartment off Commercial Drive. “And I was never a full-time binner—I'd just check the odd dumpster as I walked past. Despite what my friends told me, I think that occupation would be hard on the self-esteem.”

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