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Fiction General


by (author) Vivian Zenari

Inanna Publications & Education Inc.
Initial publish date
Jul 2022
General, Family Life, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2022
    List Price

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Gilda Peterborough has always worried about her twin, but when Pete deletes his Facebook page, she goes to red alert. Meanwhile, Pete and Gilda's mother Beth frets about both of her twins, neither of whom seem to be thriving. When Pete abruptly decides to move away from Edmonton to Montreal, Gilda decides to track him down. Beth tries to help by befriending Pete's former co-worker.

Pete (a.k.a. Philippa, a.k.a. Phil) is intersex, a biological fact Gilda believes is the root of all Pete's social problems. As far as Pete is concerned, however, the problems all lie with his twin, who is always on his case. Both Beth and Gilda hope to find Pete and somehow reconcile the family's unresolved past, which is haunted by the influence of Ralph Peterborough, a father who has never accepted his children for who they are.

In Montreal, Pete meets Philip McDonald, owner of the bed and breakfast where he and Beth lived when they were on the lam more than twenty years ago. Through Philip, Pete meets members of the LGBTQIA+ community and expands his quest for liberation in ways he never expected..

About the author

Born in Edmonton to Italian immigrant parents, Vivian Zenari has worked as a librarian, technical editor, and post-secondary instructor of English literature and writing. Vivian has a PhD from the University of Alberta with a thesis on nineteenth-century American literature. Currently Vivian works for Athabasca University, where she teaches grammar, introduction to poetry and drama, film and literature, creative nonfiction, and fiction. Her writing has been published in literary magazines and journals, and her work has been included in a number of academic publications. She lives in Edmonton with her son, dog, and cat. Beth and Ralph's Children is her debut novel.

Vivian Zenari's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"What happens when you throw the dynamics of game theory, project management methodology, and Ellison's Invisible Man together on a page” Add nine players: an intersex person, a conventional dad, a crafty-cool mom, an uptight sister, a straight friend, a trans-lover, a middle-aged gay couple, and a gay co-worker. Mix in the surprising affinities of two Canadian cities, Edmonton and Montreal, where this game plays out. Deuce is what happens. On the surface, this is a novel about an intersex person: Phillipa/Phil/Pete, someone's daughter/son/child, twin sister/brother/sibling, friend/lover. And the exploration of that paradox is breathtaking: What does it mean to live between worlds” How does one escape oneself to find oneself” How does one hold all these identities together and not fall short of everyone's expectations” Funny, audacious and real. Deuce is a masterful debut by a writer with a powerful voice."
—Audrey J. Whitson, author of The Death of Annie the Water Witcher by Lightning


"In prose as deceptively straightforward as her characters, Vivian Zenari has created a tale revealed in layers, peeled away one after another, surprising the reader with the poetry and turbulent complexity beneath the surface. With compassion and true insight, she tells of a family navigating secrets, lies and identity, travelling through time as fluid as gender. Deuce reminds us that we can invent our own game with our own rules. And the win, when it finally happens, is so much more satisfying than we anticipated."
—Darrin Hagen, author of The Edmonton Queen

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