The book that changed your life: Kevin Chong

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      With this year’s edition of the Word on the Street festival set to run from September 28 to 30, we asked some of the writers on the wildly diverse bill to tell us about the reading experiences that shaped them. Which book left deep impressions early on? Which one overhauled the way they see and think about the world, and set them on a path to a literary life?

      Here’s what Kevin Chong told us. Chong is the Vancouver-based author of the novel Beauty Plus Pity and the recent memoir My Year of the Racehorse.

      He’ll be reading from his work at 2 p.m. on September 30, in the Canada Writes tent outside the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

      I think there should be a kid and a grownup answer to this question.

      My kid answer is a book called Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey, which I had read to me in Grade 4. It was about a dog who takes a long journey to find a boy. My parents didn't read to me as a child, so it was Mrs. Moser in my class who really showed me how a good reader can bring a book alive. As a reader, I always come short when I think of Mrs. Moser.

      My grownup answer would be Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, which I read when I was 18. It's got everything you'd want from a novel: a murder mystery, brooding, dark humour, metaphysics, and a character named Smerdyakov.