American Expat Tells Queer Tales Of The American South

If a Canadian and an American get into a conversation that lasts more than five minutes, inevitably the topic of healthcare is going to come up.

I’m having coffee with American ex-pat author Thom Vernon, now a Toronto resident, to talk about his new novel, The Drifts, which was launched by Coach House Books earlier this month. But in predictable fashion, we’ve started our discussion with the differences in how our two nations treat the sick.

“In America, we have this demonization of sickness,” he says. “It’s like if you get sick it’s your fault and you deserve the consequences. Canada’s totally different. Here, there is a social safety net, and the dominant cultural value is that when people get sick, the state should be responsible for helping them.”

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