Critical Injuries was on both the Globe and Mail's and Toronto Star's best books of the year lists published in December, 2001. Isla at 49 is reveling in second chances. Her first marriage ended horrifically, but her career thrives. Her two grown children are still reverberating from the shock of their father's actions, but she has hopes for their recovery. And she has found in Lyle, her second husband, a man she both loves and trusts. Roddy is 17, restless and anxious to escape the confines of his small town. He and his best friend, dreaming of glittering, more glamorous city vistas, devise a plan that will deliver them there, and into the lives they have imagined. But in the moment of an ill-timed encounter, everything changes for both Isla and Roddy, and in the wake of that moment, each must reconstruct their lives on new and unexpected foundations. Critical Injuries is a stunning achievement, a novel of catastrophe, of hope and forgiveness, and of tenuous flashes of grace. (2001)
About the author
Joan Barfoot is one of the most engaging, entertaining, and original voices in contemporary fiction; her eleven novels capture the lives of people as they lived in the last twenty years of the 20th century and the first twenty years of the 21st. Readable and sophisticated, her work has been frequently compared to Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields, Alice Munro, Margaret Drabble, and Fay Weldon. Her novels have been nominated for, or won, numerous prizes, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Books in Canada (now Amazon.ca) First Novel Award, and the Man Booker Prize, and they have been translated into French, German, Italian, Swedish, and Danish. She is also the recipient of the Marian Engel Award. Her novel, Dancing in the Dark, was adapted to an award-winning feature film by the same name and it was entered into competition at Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival. At the peak of her powers, Joan Barfoot’s books are splendidly realized tragicomedies with note-perfect narration, mordant wit, and wonderfully neurotic casts of characters; she shows us human relationships revealed in all their absurdity and complexity. The body of her work can best be described as scintillating comedies of manners which are also profound meditations on fate, love, and artifice.