[560]: Long Change by Don Gillmor


Long Change / Don Gillmor

“Oil is what holds Western civilization up. It is energy, politics and security. It binds Christians to Arabs. It starts wars and creates wealth.” – pp. 104

To be honest, I don’t know what it was about this book that attracted me when I read the review invite from Random House. Don Gillmor may be a Canadian household name, but I haven’t read any of his book. Moreover, oil is something that doesn’t really appeal to me. The only thing I know about it is, just like money, it’s a necessary evil. It turns out, the industry is that much interesting that I ended up devouring this book in one weekend!

Long Change is the story of one man’s life and loves as it correlates with the dog-eat-dog world of the oil business. Some could argue that his life was dictated by whichever way the oil flows. From the dry heat of Texas, to the frozen tundra of Alberta; and even as far away as the perilous remoteness of Africa, Ritt Devlin’s life was an up and down roller coaster of triumphs and failures.

He escaped the clutches of his abusive, religious father at a young age of 17 in the 50s. From there, he worked in an oilfield in Abilene, Texas. He found himself on the run from the law after an altercation with a group of men looking for trouble. From Texas, he made his way to Alberta where the oil business was just getting off the ground. He also met his great love, Oda. A tall, bookish woman who would show him the love of outdoors and the love of books.

Through the years, he’ll experience great successes and disappointments. And yet even with all that, Ritt kept a cool disposition; never losing his temper or straying away from his goal. He had a way of distancing himself from situations – however minute, or consequential it may be. I almost felt like one of the women that passed by his life after Oda. When he didn’t seem to feel a smidgeon of remorse for not trying hard enough to make a relationship work.

Ritt Devlin has a very passionate relationship with Geology. He understood it, he respected it, and he more or less took advantage of it. Even still, I rooted for him. I wanted him to find the ultimate success that eluded him. This novel had me in its grips. It’s not a suspenseful read, but the power of Gillmor’s writing is that he captures the readers from the first page. He had me interested in an industry that I hate but could not live without.  The plot moved steadily, but with relentless passion. Passion in Ritt’s relationships – personal, business, and more importantly, with the land.

GOODREADS SUMMARY | Random House Canada | August 18th, 2015 | 4 out of 5 Stars



  • I’m with you in the boat of Oil being something I’m not all that educated or interested in. Personally this doesn’t interest me, much, but isn’t it great when you read a book you didn’t think you’d really be swept up in and you are and you just love it? Aren’t those surprising ones just glorious? Lovely review. xx

  • Jazmen

    Not one I’d read but it sounds fairly interesting. I’m glad you liked this one! Isn’t it nice?!

  • It’s funny how something like oil being a necessary evil that we can’t live without, yet most of us have no idea about the industry that changes us an arm, a leg and a first born just to fill up our cars. Is Ritt a real person or based on someone specifically? It sounds like a bizarre but really engaging read. I love when we can expand beyond our usual genres and discover new reads. Wonderful review Joy, so glad you enjoyed this one <3

  • I like that this is a story that follows the life of a guy and his success and failures. Glad you enjoyed it, despite not being something you’d usually read.

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

  • Glad you enjoyed it! The cover is absolutely stunning.

  • Not the type of a book I prefer reading, but it definitely sounds interesting. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • I do love novels like this one too. I find it inspirational, facing the challenges and finding success in the end inspite of previous defeats et al. I guess you found yourself a new author to follow

  • I love the gorgeous pic and the quote, Joy! I’m glad you discovered something new to read and ended up devouring it in the best of ways 🙂

  • The relentless passion sounds great in this one

  • kindlemom1

    I love that even though the subject matter was something, well, let’s face it, not very interesting sounding, that this ended up surprising you and you devoured it! I really do love it when that happens.
    Great review!

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    This isn’t the type of book I usually would pick up but you’ve really sold me on it. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Joy! 🙂

  • The synopsis doesn’t really sound all that interesting, but your review of it is! I work in the oil & gas industry (much to my disgust, but I keep telling myself – you can only change things from the inside!) and some people *love* it. I really don’t understand why, black gold and all that, I suppose. I sort of want to read this though, I’m getting Dallas vibes for no reason whatsoever lol

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    You read such a wide variety of books Joy, you make me want to step outside my paranormal YA comfort zone more often! I love when an author can pique my interest in something that I would normally gloss over on my way to something I deemed more intriguing. Sounds like an outstanding read:)

  • Interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the character is in the oil industry except for Lisa Kleypas’ The Travis series, but those are more romance so I don’t think they really count. I think it’s always fascinating when books showcase a long time of the characters’ lives. I’m glad this turned out to be enjoyable for you, Joy!

  • Definitely an unusual premise but the plot sounds very engaging and intense, I love books that follows the protagonist through many years and being able to watch them change. Fantastic review!!

  • Oooh, this is such an interesting premise! I don’t think I’ve read a book about someone following and dealing with oil. The premise kind of reminds me of Deception Point by Dan Brown somehow XP Although that one involves more like a space machine deep in the Atlantic? In any case, I’d totally read this one! It is super interesting!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  • Never heard of him either

  • Like you, I doubt very much would have pulled me to this book from reading the synopsis, but it looks like reading this one was well worth it! I’m always up for trying something new and this one intrigues me because I basically know zero about the oil industry itself. That’s gonna change…