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The Big One cover

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2. Paperback Edition
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  • 228 pages
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  • 228 pages
  • 5.0 x 8.0 inches

Circumnavigating The Island, Father-son relationship, Friendship, Kayaking, Natural disasters, Pancreatic cancer, Vancouver Island

The Big One
by J D Carswell

Locals call it “Circumnavigating the Island”—an arduous journey around Vancouver Island for even the most experienced. But to a dying father, it was the one last adventure he wished to take with his son.

Diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer, and against his doctor’s orders, the seventy-five-year-old father and fifty-three-year-old son dip their kayak into the ocean water to begin their last voyage. Relying on the son’s experience as an outdoor hobbyist and past trawler deckhand, the son takes to the paddle while his father helps on—but the more they move forward, the more the son bears witnesses to his father’s turmoil.

Often battling the idea of mortality and reminiscing about their past, father and son continue their journey through the often unforgiving environment. When close to calling it quits, they begin to find small blessings, reminding them of why they took to the water. Halfway through their adventure, their plans take a detour when they meet a young kayaker, Sarah, who is on a quest to find herself. The father and son quickly adopt her as one of their own, finding renewed energy to continue their task as their duo becomes three.

As they bond over their love of kayaking, whales, and current events, the three find strength in each other, giving them each the courage to face the realities they wish to avoid. Yet, when an unimaginable and unforeseeable event rips them apart, they must remember that inner strength to carry them through.

An adventurous, endearing tale of the unpredictable nature of life, The Big One offers an escape from the everyday world, bringing to the forefront of what matters most—our family and friends.

J D Carswell photo

John Davis Carswell is a retired high school teacher, past trawler deckhand, and an outdoor hobbyist who co-founded and ran an outdoor education program in the Comox Valley, British Columbia.

Mr. Carswell currently resides in Comox, B.C., with his wife of forty years. Together they raised four children and a variety of animals on their homestead. He was inspired to write his first novel, The Big One, for his father, who passed from pancreatic cancer and loved the splendor and mystery of the West Coast.


J D Carswell

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