More Local Canliterary News!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Silent Auction & Refreshments: 1:00 pm
Frances Itani: 2:00 pm
Minden Hills Library,
176 Bobcaygeon Road, Minden Ontario
Noted Canadian author Frances Itani will be giving a talk about her latest novel Requiem, (kerryoncanlit review here) as part of the Friends of the Haliburton County Public Library’s sixth annual Book Gala.
See the kerryoncanlit review of her earlier work Leaning, Leaning Over Water, below
Leaning, Leaning Over Water
Harper Collins, 1998
Frances Itani had been the recipient of several major writing awards and much critical acclaim, but it was not until the recent release of her first novel, Leaning, Leaning Over Water, that she came to the attention of the general reading public. The book, described as “a novel in ten stories” relates the life of the Anglo-Irish King family, uprooted from a small Ontario town to the banks of a swift river on the edge of a village in rural Quebec, by their father’s post-war search for work.
Trude is the middle child, whose job, according to her mother, is to see “both forward and back…to tell the family stories.” Dutifully, she narrates tales stuffed with the minutiae of childhood–swimming, boyfriends, piano lessons, and attempts to decode the mysterious world of adults. Befriending Mimi, and her large Roman Catholic family, she learns a smattering of French and gains an inkling about a wider world.
While a warm and entertaining narration of the life of one slightly quirky, but basically normal family unfolds, an unsettling element remains, in the person of the Maura, the mother. Her marriage is a bandage, perhaps too hastily placed over an earlier wound. She alone, of her family, remains isolated in her new surroundings–-never mastering a word of French, and bothered that her husband “brought [her]to live beside a fast-flowing river, and [she didn’t] know how to swim.”
Her accidental drowning, witnessed by her children, mischievously attempting to spy on their parents’ riverbank party, is the central crisis of the book. Beyond the grief and loss, there is something troubling about Maura’s death–-something Trude and her sister Lyd intuitively understood when they witnessed it, but which has remained unspoken between them. Not till the final segment of the book, entitled “Moving On” do the sisters manage to speak of their concerns, and to come to terms with both the light and dark of life.