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About this book
- Winner of the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize!
- Finalist in the Trade Non-Fiction Award at the 2018 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!
- Finalist in the Cover Design Award at the 2018 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!
In a city known for wealth and prosperity, the divide between haves and have-nots is rarely clearer than on moving day, when those two worlds come together in intimate fashion. Violent ex-cons and drug addicts are invited into spacious homes, entrusted with the care and transport of the possessions of the upper classes — a unique bridging of two normally segregated worlds.
Darwin’s Moving is an intriguing and affecting exploration of class divides by a journalist and former mover. Taylor Lambert takes us behind the scenes of a familiar industry that is almost completely undocumented in Canadian literature to reveal the cycles of poverty and addiction that ensnare its workers. This is the Other Calgary, a world populated by transient men and women struggling to survive in a boomtown's shadow.
Excerpt from Darwin’s Moving:
Great weight is one challenge, great size another. Combined in one item, these characteristics have their effects multiplied significantly. Anything eight feet tall, eight feet wide and four feet deep is difficult to manoeuvre. As I tip it toward Keith, I estimate it to be around four hundred pounds. Keith is cradling the top of the tilted piece, and I will lift from the diagonally opposite edge, walking backwards. At this angle the width of the piece becomes its height, and the edge I need to carry is hanging high over the stairwell. Too high, in fact, for me to hold the weight in my hands near waist level, which would be the most comfortable and stable position. Instead I must move down two steps and lift the edge with my arms nearly vertical above me, one step at a time. We do this for three steps, and then we must start to turn. To make the corner, Keith has to tilt the cabinet up vertically without losing his grip, and Jesse helps him as I lift and swing at the same time and we set it down smoothly on the landing having turned ninety degrees. Now we have nine more steps to the bottom.
Keith is finding it difficult to carry the piece without the weight tilted toward him. But to tilt it raises the edge I must lift from, and it’s too difficult to keep it steady when I must lift it over my head. The size and weight of the cabinet is proving difficult on the stairs. Keith asks for a strap, and Jesse runs out to get it. The orange forearm strap is too short to loop around the bottom of the behemoth. Jesse runs out again and returns with two white piano straps, which he joins together. Wrapping each end of the strap around his wrists, Keith can now lift the piece with the weight tilted further toward me. With great effort we make it to the bottom, and I use the forearm strap so we can carry the cabinet out nearly on its side to clear the front doorway.
"With humour and unwavering journalism, Taylor Lambert has written an endearing tribute that lifts up the working class men who help us build a home. For once, we're invited into the movers' messy lives, to see their hopes and dreams on the mantle, and the classism in the closet."
“With a clear-eyed Lambert behind the wheel, Darwin’s Moving gives you a full tour of the class divide bubbling up through a rapidly suburbanizing city. In compassionate and concise prose, Lambert delves into the battered histories of the men around him, revealing stories full of joy, rage, fear, and abandonment. Open it up and get in the truck.”
"This is an important story that every Calgarian (and beyond!) should read..." full review
"...the collision of rich and poor is made starkly evident."
"...an illuminating trip to a realm of which we’re only dimly aware. Bonus: You’ll learn how to pack a van good and tight." full review
"Darwin's Moving is about Calgary but it's a larger story, too, about the ways Darwin's Moving is not unique, about class and the often-transient men tasked with moving our homes." full review
"Lambert has shed light on a corner of the Canadian working world few even think about. The ghost of Orwell approves." full review
"You’ll never look at a moving truck the same way again." full review