Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor
Meet the Playwright

Saturday, December 4, 2010

NEW FICTION by Margaret

Margaret Philips of the Northern Woman's Bookstore writes about reading.
We are pleased to let you know that the novels that won the GILLER PRIZE and the GOVERNOR GENERAL’S AWARD are now in stock.

It’s great to see the GILLER go to a young writer published by a small independent Canadian press. THE SENTIMENTALISTS . Johanna Skibsrud debut novel is the story of a father haunted by the horrors of the Vietnam War who retreats to a small Ontario town. When his daughter (fleeing her own troubles) arrives “she finds her father in the twilight of his life, and rapidly slipping into senility. With love and insatiable curiosity, she devotes herself to learning the truth about his life…. Lyrical and riveting THE SENTIMENTALISTS is a story of what lies beneath the surface of everyday life, and the commanding power of the past.” This book is literally hot off the press so I haven’t even peeked at it yet, but I’m looking forward to a great read.
I have embarked on Dianne Warren’s novel COOL WATER which won this year’s Governor General’s award. I like what I’ve read so far. Warren has Carol Shield’s (or perhaps even Alice Munro’s) capability of making the ordinary – extraordinary. COOL WATER brings to life the fictional town of Juliet, Saskatchewan, with overlapping stories of some its ordinary/extraordinary residents. Warren’s prose is beautiful… the story (stories) moving… I can’t wait to get back to it.

A new novel by Jane Urquhart is wonderful. SANCTUARY LINE is a compelling and intricate story of family legacies, love, betrayal, and loss. Set in the present on a farm at the shores of Lake Erie, the novel weaves elements from the past into a contemporary story of events in the lives of the members of one family. Stunning in the beauty of its prose and startling in its complexity, SANCTUARY LINE is a novel I will read again and again.

Talking about WAITING FOR JOE, Joan Baril says “Sandra Birdsell has crafted a masterpiece. She has created two characters you won’t soon forget. Laurie and Joe had big money and blew it. Now they are living in a stolen, clapped-out RV on a Wal-Mart parking lot. Laurie is an impulse shopper, a fashionista and home decorator, a collector of objects, the epitome of the shallow, media driven, over-merchandised 21st century. Even though she has no money, Laurie is unable to stop spending. Joe, once a golden boy, alternates between fits of outrage, self pity, and the desire to leave. The couple stand in contrast to Joe’s father, Alfred, a tough old bird who survived Japanese prison camps and is now surviving the indignities that arrive near life’s end. Neither Laurie or Joe can stick to a plan. They live by impulse. But they are not cardboard cut-outs. They are real people with families, childhood histories, past tragedies and loves. This is a rock- hard book  but fortunately it has an upbeat ending.”

In praising THE GHOST BRUSH, Katherine Govier’s new novel, historian Margaret McMillan says, “Katherine Govier takes us on a moving and fascinating quest as she explores the vanished world of 19th century Japan and the submerged stories of its women. Her telling of that of Oei, the daughter of the great painter Hokusai and perhaps his superior as an artist, is at once a work of painstaking historical research and a bold leap of the imagination”. And Joy Kogawa says “I get shivers when Katherine Govier describes Hokusai’s daughter. It’s as if she is channeling Oei, this Japanese woman trapped in that long-lost world… People have to know this story. And they’ll love reading it”.

Winner of the Governor General’s Award for The Perfect Circle, Pascale Quiviger’s new novel is THE BREAKWATER HOUSE. This novel is about the bonds of friendship; the ties between mothers and daughters; the act of creation itself. Clever, artfully told, and full of compelling characters, it is also a rarity: both a galloping good read and a magical, intricately wrought work of art that reveals layer upon layer, nuance upon nuance.”

THE BEAUTY OF THE HUMANITY MOVEMENT, the new novel by Camilla Gibb, (author of Sweetness in the Belly) is winning critical acclaim. “Set in contemporary Vietnam, this is the story of a country undergoing momentous change, a story that transforms our notion of how family is defined- not always by bloodlines but by the heart. Tu’ is a young tour guide working in Hanoi, but while he leads tourists through his city he wonders what it is they are seeing of Vietnam- and what they miss entirely. Maggie, who is Vietnamese by birth but has lived most of her life in the U.S., has returned to the country in search of clues to her dissident father’s disappearance during the war. Holding the story together is Old Man Hung, who has survived decades of political upheaval and through it all has found a way to feed hope to the community of pondside dwellers among whom he lives. This is a keenly observed and skillfully wrought novel about the reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and the redemption and renewal of long-lost love.”

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