Paul Nicholas Mason

The Red Dress

Living in small-town Ontario in the 1970s offers little interest or consolation for Charlie Knowles, teenage son of an angry “welfare queen” single mother. Sometimes his world seems “small and dark.” As Charlie resigns himself to another summer of mowing lawns and skirting the fringes of trouble with his best friend, Randy, a chance encounter one weekend changes the direction of his life.

One morning Charlie meets Serge Boorman, and soon finds himself befriended by him and his wife, Selina. The Boormans’ life seems everything Charlie’s is not – privileged, sophisticated, and open to possibility. Charlie is smitten by the Boormans, but his mother is less trusting about their interest in her son.

The Red Dress explores the seductiveness of corruption and the fragility of goodness, and reveals that even troubled people can have moments of insight. It’s a story threaded with ambiguities, but there is a light cast by one character’s extraordinary wholeness. The Boormans may be past saving, but for Charlie there is, through a young woman named Milly, some chance of redemption.

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