Thursday, August 19, 2010
Two Canadian Authors
Harper Collins Canada 2009
nominated for the
Scotiabank Giller Prize
In her external life, Helen O'Mara cleans and does yoga and looks after her grandchildren and shakes hands with solitude. In her internal life, she continually revisits Cal, who drowned when in 1982 the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank off the coast of Newfoundland during a Valentine's Day storm.
This book caught me at the first paragraph wherein the author describes skate sharpening -
Helen watches as the man touches the skate blade to the sharpener. There is a stainless steel cone to catch the spray of orange sparks that fly up
It took me right back to my childhood in Toronto where we skated every day after school until dark. I could smell the wet mitts and soggy socks in the tuck shop.
And then on the second page she let her grandson take a quarter to buy a jawbreaker - his mother will be furious. Timmy doesn't eat his vegetables - he lives on macaroni and cheese. They have rules - Helen's daughters all have rules. This sentence grabbed me by the heart and wouldn't let go
The fate of the world can hang on a jawbreaker
The Flying Troutmans
Alfred Knoff Canada 2008
Hattie has just been dumped by her Paris boyfriend, her sister Min is going through a particularly dark period, and Min's two kids are not talking or talking way too much.
Hattie returns home to Canada after receiving an SOS call from eleven-year-old Thebes that Min is on the way to a psychiatric ward. She quickly realizes that she is way out of her league and hatches a hare-brained plan to find the kids' long-lost father. They hit the road and head south.
One reviewer, Kevin Sampsell, said:
Who wouldn't want to go on a road trip with Miriam Toews?
This is another top notch delight in an increasingly brilliant career. The best thing about MT's writing is that it manages to be both cool and heartbreakingly sweet. The dialogue is the best thing out of Canada since the movie "Highway 61" and the characters are complex and deeply felt. I am going to marry this book. We will be registered at Macy's