Cadillac Couches: 08/22/17
Cadillac Couches by Sophie B. Watson is a delightfully goofy road trip story about a pair of BFFs who are hardcore music fans. Despite a lack of funds and a health issue that causes fainting at inopportune times, Annie and Isobel head cross country from Edmonton to Montreal for a concert.
Besides the music festival hijinks — the folk scene of Edmonton vs the bigger music scene in metropolitan Montreal, there is a fantastic section describing their trip. Annie describes how it's faster to cut through the United States but it is "cool to keep it Canadian." (p. 58)
Keeping in mind that Canada has a population of 36.25 million people (or roughly 3 million fewer than California), cutting across the border also makes logistic sense. Driving across Canada would be where transcontinental road trips in the United States were a hundred years ago and the central bits were sparsely populated but the roads were laid. (Although it should be noted that in 1917, the United States already had three times the population of present day Canada).
If there is no where to stop and if like Annie and Isobel you don't have the money to stop, you end up pulling all night drives. You end up driving until you hallucinate — until you practically black out.
Along the way, though, you're bound to run into some characters. The less self-reliant you are, the more you have to ask for help along the way. For Annie and Isobel, it means picking up a hitchhiker or doing a runner.
Both these scenes are hilarious but my favorite is the one where the women try to do a runner from a restaurant when they realize they've gone into a cash only restaurant. They're rescued by an older English man who never can seem to remember he's in Canada (instead of the United States). I guess Canadians get confused for being Americans in the same way that New Zealanders get confused with Australians.
As Cadillac Couches fits into my road narrative project and gives me further insights to how these tropes and categories are treated in Canadian literature. As I mentioned with The Volkswagen Blues, I'm behind in transcribing my notes for further analysis in Tumblr. I will get to that part of the process later.