Born between the wars on a working-class London street, Harry Miles wins a scholarship and a chance to escape his station, but discovers instead that poetry is what offers him real direction. While searching for more of it he meets Evelyn Hill on the steps of Battersea Library. The two fall in love as the world prepares once again for war, but their capacity to care for each other over the ensuing decades becomes increasingly tested.
Twisting and startling, harrowing and deeply tender, Dear Evelyn explores how two very different people come together to shape and reshape each other over a lifetime. It is a compelling and unconventional love story that will leave its mark on any reader who has ever loved.
Kathy Page’s works include Frankie Styne and the Silver Man; Alphabet, a Governor General’s Award finalist in 2005; and The Story of My Face, long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002. Two of her books, Paradise & Elsewhere, 2014, and The Two of Us, 2016, were nominated for the Giller Prize. Born in the UK, she moved to the West Coast of Canada with her family in 2001, and now divides her time between writing and teaching at Vancouver Island University.
Praise for Dear Evelyn
“Kathy Page's Dear Evelyn is a novel in the shape of a life...[true] to most human experiences of love...Page has laid bare the lives of her characters, making no claim to their significance to anyone but each other, and in doing so has demonstrated that the ordinary is infinitely precious.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Quietly hums with emotional charge. The war years, with Harry fighting in North Africa and Evelyn struggling with a young child at home, are especially vivid, but this watchful, empathetic chronicle retains sensitivity through the less obviously eventful decades of home-building and child-rearing....Page's watchful and very British tale remains devoted to both and forgiving to the end. A searching, and touching, depiction of the places where married lives merge and the places where they never do.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“A love story, a coming-of-age story, and a brilliantly evocative sketch of Britain in the 20th century...[a] measured, intelligent novel.” —The Guardian
“Page’s finely wrought story – by turns tender, acid, and poignant – reminds us that marriage is a condition as infinitely variable as the individuals who enter into it...gains dimension and complexity as additional details accumulate through Page’s deft use of flashbacks and prolepsis; her precise and graceful prose gives the emerging picture nuance and shading...Page’s touching novel makes the ordinary extraordinary.” —Quill & Quire (starred review)
“An ambitious, and highly literary, historical fiction outing...The writing is remarkable, masterfully weaving together the personal and the political. The backdrop of global conflict infuses the story with urgency, drama, and the exotic appeal of foreign travel, while the intimate manoeuverings of the characters oscillate between tenderness and profound despair.” —Toronto Star
“A smartly written portrait of a marriage that is true to life, has depth and detail, and is sometimes sweet and sometimes painful...the characters linger long afterwards and are likely to leave readers with either a tear in their eye or a lump in the throat.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“Page charts the emotional shifts that take place over the course of their marriage, from first flush of love to old age, with subtlety and sensitivity.” —Booklist
“Though a familiar tale, it’s sharply drawn and told with an alertness to cliche ...[T]he concluding scenes, while sadly inevitable, are quietly devastating. ” —Daily Mail Online
“I know of no contemporary writer who deals so convincingly with love. Page consistently dramatizes the ways in which the feelings of intimate couples are puzzling mixtures of hope, lust, genuine caring, resentment, politics, and much else...ambitious and profoundly resonant.” —BC BookLook
“"[Page] has flown largely under the radar of publishing journalism while also writing damned good books...Page is a magician at evoking a sense of past-ness, and her characterisation is extraordinarily skillful and tender: both Evelyn and her husband Harry can be extremely difficult, but the reader understands and feels for them both. Exceptional work.” —Elle Thinks
“A richly textured story that feels authentic to each period, without ever getting bogged down in too many details or historical facts ... Relayed with compassion, and incisive writing.” —Gulf Islands Driftwood
Praise for Kathy Page “Page...runs circles around authors who work twice as hard for half the reward... One of the most talented short-story writers working today delivered yet another knockout collection that is both darkly funny and terribly sad.” —Globe and Mail “A moving novel about knowledge, self-awareness and the power of words, set in the purgatory of prison. This young man’s life demands our attention and refuses to let go.” —Kirkus (starred review) “Like children at a sleepover, tucked beneath shared covers, the stories whisper to one another, providing a thematic richness to the book that far outstrips its page count.” —The Walrus “Tight, strange, nifty stories.” —Margaret Atwood “Her fiction is sensuous and verdant, grafting lyrical prose onto stories and situations that appear almost as legends.” —National Post “Page’s prose is vivid and alive, with nary a scrap of throwaway writing to be found.” —Publishers Weekly “Alphabet is not just highly readable, but one of the strongest, most eloquent, most tightly constructed novels of the year…It is a measure of the quiet artistry of Alphabet that, out of material that would have been at home in the blackest of black comedies, Kathy Page has celebrated, with rare deftness, the resilience of the human heart. ” —Sunday Telegraph “A complex book, and splendidly written, Alphabet is an intensely compelling reading experience that speaks to the power of words and the significance of language in all its dangerous subtleties.” —The Edmonton Journal “One of our most daring writers … If you don’t know Page’s work yet, she’s a find.” —Caroline Adderson “Kathy Page is a massive talent.” —Barbara Gowdy “One of the most complex characters I’ve ever met in a novel.” —Victoria Times Colonist “Emotionally resonant, poignant examinations of life and love and – most piercingly – death… Page is a highly skilled miniaturist, capable of pulling off powerful effects by way of simple (though never simplistic) prose and a keen eye for human fallibility and ambiguity.” —Quill & Quire “The Two of Us contains stories about pairs, couples, dyads–mainly intense one-on-one relationships… [and Page’s] duos are all united by a primal desire for intimacy.” —BC Booklook