Cormorant Books, March 2009

Underground is about one man’s epic journey from the mud of the Somme to the burnt fields of civil war Spain. The story of Albert Fraser spans twenty years and thousands of miles, through dire poverty of the 1930s in Canada, and deadly violence. Battle-scarred, he searches for an answer to the question, Who am I? and, in a seemingly rash and contradictory act, returns to war.

Underground was called “taut and lean, elegant and poetic” by The Globe and Mail. It was shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s 2010 Evergreen Award, named a Vancouver Sun Must-Read BC Book, Fall 2009, as well as a  CBC Cross-country Check-up and BC Almanac summer read 2009.

“June Hutton has found poetry in the underground worlds of wartime trenches, Chinatown tunnels, depression-era work camps, and the bomb craters of the Spanish Civil War.”  — Jack Hodgins, author of Broken Ground and The Master of Happy Endings

Underground is a remarkable piece of work – the inner life of Al, the extraordinary social & political context of his life, the evocation of very particular times and places – the whole thing shot through and through with a vivid style and a voice completely under control.” — Myrna Kostash, author of Prodigal Daughter, A Journey to Byzantium

“Hutton’s prose is taut and lean, elegant and poetic, reminding me at times of Annie Proulx.” — The Globe and Mail

“This is rhythmic, taut writing, at once sensual and alive with potential violence.” — Literary Review of Canada

“June Hutton has waded into a field traditionally populated by men. . . she’s not only broken new ground, she’s written an important addition to Canada’s literary canon of peace and war.” — subTerrain Magazine

“. . . impressionistic, psychologically astute.” HistoricalNovels.info, Portland, OR

“The opening scene of June Hutton’s Underground is electrifying; another scene could give readers nightmares” — The Vancouver Sun

“. . . from the opening, harrowing sequence . . . The story didn’t lose it’s track, and Hutton’s poetic writing never lost its appeal.” — the Whitehorse Star Daily

“. . . intuitive, discerning, and often gut-wrenching.” — Historical Novel Review

“Underground, a novel filled with the metaphors of death, burial and resurrection of the spirit, is brilliantly conceived, totally convincing and akin to the works of an early Steinbeck.” — The Owen Sound Sun Times

“As Al slowly progresses from youth to manhood, he quietly insinuates himself into my mind, making him a memorable character . . . a satisfying and enriching read.” — Event, The Douglas College Review

“Weaving together various motifs, including burial and self-discovery, with historical facts and incidents, Hutton creates a cinematic and moving portrayal of the life of her protagonist, Albert Fraser. Hutton also highlights the little known participation of the 1,700 Canadians who fought in the Spanish Civil War.” — British Columbia History, journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation

Reader responses to Underground