Take a step back into the dawn of suburban life.
Revisit the era when mothers in print dresses performed the arcane ritual of mixing the colour dot into the margarine, fathers filled every room of the house in Weston with tobacco smoke, and all the riches of America were to be had by buying on time.
Nothing you ever saw on `Ozzie and Harriet' ever looked anything like this. East European immigrants to Toronto in the early fifties dreamed of the good life in the suburbs. But they did not have any money, so they put up an outhouse, dug a pit in a new subdivision, threw a roof over the hole, and lived there among the lawns and gardens of their neighbours whose imaginations were largely limited to asphalt driveways. Their neighbours were not amused.
Buying on Time is a very funny and occasionally poignant look at growing up in the suburbs in the 1950s and '60s. This collection of linked stories follows an immigrant family as it fights to build a house and find a new life in Canada after World War II. At the heart of the stories is the Old Man, the irascible, insanely self-confident, pipe-smoking father who studies what he calls `the English' with an incredulity that is wildly comic, and who marches into Eatons trailing sawdust in order to buy his depressed wife a new fur coat. His English is bad, and his religion is almost mediaeval, yet he has cunning and a zest for life, as well as a taste for Five Star Whisky.
The anecdotes, extended scenes and burgeoning imagination that make up these stories are tightly composed and sharply focused. The book manages to be both harsh and sympathetic. It welds humour, tragedy and the personal embarrassments we all live through in a colourful and memorable way.