Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Staff Pick - Algoma by Dani Couture

I have been reading - and quite enjoying-  a lot of Canadian writers lately. I have recently finished Twenty-six by Leo McKay Jr.; The Cat's Table  by Michael Ondaatje; The Cloaca by Andrew Hood, and Rock Reject by Jim Williams

And now Algoma (M) by Dani Couture, which I think I enjoyed the most of all.

It is a compelling slice of literary fiction, with engaging characters, great description and a poet's way with observation. One of my favourite lines is "it was town of injury lore". Set in a small town in Northern Quebec, Algoma tells the emotionally wrenching story of a young family dealing with the loss of a child. The mother, father and surviving twin brother each deal with this loss in their own dysfunctional way. A complex mix of denial, delusion and optimism pervades the character's thoughts and lives.

I particularly embraced the characters of Algoma and her surviving son, Ferd.  I was rooting for them throughout the story - hoping Ferd would be able to come to grips with the devastating truth he won't accept and that Algoma would be able to find peace and happiness in her world of hand me downs. I also enjoyed reading about Algoma's extended family - three sets of twin sisters!

Although this is not an upbeat novel, it is infused with hope and growth. When all was said and done, I was left as a very satisfied reader and look forward to Dani Couture's second novel.  In the meantime, I think I'll try Sweet. (M)

Please note that Dani Couture will be reading at the Spring Garden Road Library on Sunday Nov, 18th @2:30.  All are welcome. (sponsored by The Canada Council for the Arts).

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