Having escaped the place in her youth, retired professor Sidonie von Täler returns to her ancestral Okanagan valley orchards still very much in the shadow of her deceased older sister Alice.
As she sifts through the detritus of her family history, Sidonie is haunted by memories of trauma and triumph in equal measure, and must reconcile past and present while reconnecting with the people she left behind.
Karen Hofmann's debut novel blends a poetic sensibility with issues of land stewardship, social stratification and colonialism. Her eye for period detail and characterization is reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin or Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel, while her lyrical realization of bygone B.C. pastoralia recalls the work of George Bowering.
Praise for After Alice:
"For the beauty of its narrative descriptions, but also for many other reasons, After Alice deserves a place among the best of new Canadian literary fiction."
~ Julienne Isaacs, The Winnipeg Review
"I welcome Hofmann's refreshing voice with this wonderful book, one of the most interesting and exciting that I've encountered in ages."
~ Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This
"After Alice has the makings of a CanLit classic, with complex characters, heavy themes done with a light touch, and expert pacing. Did I mention that this is Karen Hofmann's first novel?"
~ Laura Frey, Reading in Bed
"This novel accomplishes so much ... After Alice firmly places [Hofmann] as an exciting new voice on the CanLit scene."
~ Kat Main, Alberta Views