Brianna’s books: Two Roads Home by Daniel Griffin

Culture Literature

How far would you be willing to go for a good cause? Set against the anti-logging protests of the ‘90s on Vancouver Island, author Daniel Griffin imagines a world for his characters in Two Roads Home where the protests aren’t so peaceful.

Four activists, Pete, Fay, Art and Derek, become convinced that the peaceful protests won’t bring the change they want. As a result, they plan to bomb logging company warehouses in order to force the company’s hand. Unfortunately, in their first attempt, a security guard is caught in the blast. Echoing the style of a fast-paced thriller, Daniel Griffin explores the aftermath of the explosion for both the activists and the people closest to them.

The focus of Two Roads Home is the emotional journey of the four activists as they are forced to confront the consequences of their actions. It acts as a character study; Daniel Griffin never casts them as straightforward antagonists or misunderstood protagonists, but instead shows the character’s motivations and how they try to justify their actions. Pete, the activist who set the bomb, runs off and stumbles into an off-the-grid community who have no idea what he’s done. The remaining three push forward with their initial plans. As events begin to spiral out of their control, they all have to face responsibility for what they’ve done, whether they are ready to or not.

Two Roads Home never slows down. I read the entire book in a weekend; the pace and tension just keeps building and building, and before I knew it, everything was over. Just as the characters find some peace, it’s soon ripped away causing them even more emotional turmoil. They are not portrayed as sympathetic, but rather presented in a way that makes the reader understand where they are coming from. Legally speaking, the characters are criminals, even unintentionally, and the narrative does not let the readers forget that.

When I encounter books with similar themes to Two Roads Home, main characters are usually painted in a positive light; their actions are justifiable in the long run. One of the things I really liked about Two Roads Home was that it showed the characters trying to justify their actions to themselves. The four activists try think in terms of the bigger picture, but none of them know what they should do. It’s fascinating to read this and follow their lines of thinking. I really understood why they did the things they did and the decisions they made going forward.

Two Roads Home does not offer easy answers. The characters are forced to confront the worst parts of themselves and some try to justify their actions as steps towards the greater good. It’s a fast-paced read containing difficult questions that will linger with you after the book has finished. If this sounds right for you, definitely give Two Roads Home a read.