In her compelling debut poetry collection, shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award, Melissa Bull explores the familial, romantic, and sexual ties that bind lives to cities. Rue takes us through its alleys, parks, and kitchens with a robust lyricism and language that is at once inventive and plainspoken, compassionate and frank.
In English, to rue is to regret; in French, la rue is the street – Rue’s poems provide the venue for moments of both recollection and motion. Punctuated with neologisms and the bilingual dialogue of Montreal, the collection explores the author’s upbringing in the working-class neighbourhood of St. Henri with her artist mother, follows her travels, friendships, and loves across North America, Europe, and Russia, and recounts her journalist father’s struggles with terminal brain cancer.
Inspired by powerful Quebec talents like Nelly Arcan, Marie-Sissy Labrèche, and playwright Annick Lefebvre, Melissa Bull brings an unflinching new feminist voice to the Canadian literary scene.
Melissa Bull is a writer, editor and translator based in Montreal. Her writing has been featured in Event, Matrix, Lemon Hound, Broken Pencil, The Montreal Review of Books, Playboy and Maisonneuve. She has translated such authors as Nelly Arcan, Kim Thuy, Evelyne de la Chenliere, Raymond Bock, Alexandre Soubliere and Maude Smith Gagnon for various publications. Melissa has a BA in Creative Writing from Concordia University and is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia. She is the 2013 winner of CBC's Hyperlocal Award, and her translation of Nelly Arcan's last collection of writing, Burqa of Skin, was published in the fall of 2014.
The Incomparables is the debut novel from Alexandra Leggat, Trillium nominated author of Animal. Lydia Templar is obsessed with fabric, the texture and weight of cloth. Through fabrics, curtains, costumes, she expresses herself in a way she feels incapable of doing in words. For the past ten years she’s apprenticed in the wardrobe department of a small Shakespearean theatre company and has finally been given the opportunity to showcase her designs. When she discovers her husband is having an affair with his leading lady, she seeks revenge the only way she knows how: she weaves her panic, pain, and paranoia into the costumes. It costs her the job. She swears she’ll never sew again, packs her things, and returns to her mother and the sprawling country estate she left years ago. Lydia discovers that her mother has turned part of the large family home into a bed and breakfast.
When a group of counsellors from the city book the family’s B&B for the summer to prepare for a special wedding ceremony, Lydia’s plans to never thread a needle again are challenged. Through the one thing she cannot live without, the counsellors lure Lydia into a role she did not see coming — her self.
The Incomparables is a novel about ambition, betrayal, “failure,” love, family dynamics, how we deal with societal, family, and personal expectations, and how we come to accept who we are.
Alexandra Leggat is the author of the short story collections Animal (shortlisted for the Trillium Award), Meet Me in the Parking Lot, and Pull Gently, Tear Here (nominated for the Danuta Gleed First Fiction Award). She is also the author of the poetry collection This is me since yesterday. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have been published in journals across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. The Incomparables (Anvil Press, 2014) is her first novel.
When Emily was a little girl, all she wanted to be when she grew up was a Full-Time Pioneer; in her Jehovah’s Witness family, the only imaginable future is a life of knocking on doors and handing out Watchtower magazines. But Emily starts to challenge her upbringing. She becomes closer to her closeted uncle, Tyler, as her older sister, Lenora, hangs out with boys, wears makeup, and gets a startling new haircut. After Lenora disappears, everything changes for Emily, and as she deals with her mental devastation she is forced to consider a different future.
Alternating between Emily’s life as a child and her adult life in the city, Watch How We Walk offers a haunting, cutting exploration of “disfellowshipping,” proselytization, and cultural abstinence, as well as the Jehovah’s Witness attitude towards the “worldlings” outside of their faith. Sparse, vivid, suspenseful, and darkly humorous, Jennifer LoveGrove’s debut novel is an emotional and visceral look inside an isolationist religion through the eyes of an unforgettable protagonist.
|Credit: Sharon Harris|