A new anthology of Atlantic Canadian fiction includes an excerpt from a novel by Dr. Samuel Martin, assistant professor of English at Northwestern College. Martin’s story, “Running the Whale’s Back,” is a central chapter out of his novel, “A Blessed Snarl,” and is the titular piece of the anthology, which is entitled “Running the Whale’s Back: Stories of Faith and Doubt from Atlantic Canada.”
Originally published in the literary arts journal Image, “Running the Whale’s Back” centers around Patrick, a Pentecostal pastor who moves from Ontario to Newfoundland to start a new church plant in a local strip mall. “Much of the story deals with Patrick’s life unraveling as he questions everything from whether or not his wife loved him to whether or not God hears his prayers, until he is finally driven to take one last leap of faith,” explains Martin.
The anthology features the collective works of 18 authors and the multiple facets of what they call “faith” through the unique vantage points of the four Atlantic Canadian provinces. “The interesting thing about the anthology is that it takes belief and doubt as its themes and, in a way, shows how these two forces constantly struggle with each other,” says Martin. “In Atlantic Canada, this struggle is more starkly evident than in some other regions because Christian belief, both Protestant and Catholic, has deep roots in the area, as well as a very troubled past and present.”
A member of Northwestern’s faculty since 2012, Martin is also the author of a collection of short stories entitled “This Ramshackle Tabernacle.” He earned a bachelor’s degree from Redeemer University College, a master’s from the University of Toronto and a doctorate in English language and literature from Memorial University of Newfoundland.