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Fiction Historical

In the Defense of Liberty

by (author) Keith Maillard

Freehand Books
Initial publish date
May 2023
Historical, Transgender, Coming of Age
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

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Set on a US college campus in 1964, In the Defense of Liberty is a powerful, fast-paced novel exploring gender nonconformity and the reach of history.

It's 1964, and the students at Merida University in Ohio can sense that something is brewing -- the campus is rippling with undercurrents of anger and alienation. As they work to make sense of the rapidly shifting cultural and ideological climate, the four main characters of In the Defense of Liberty are also consumed by their own personal dramas.

There's Mason, a history student growing his hair long and struggling to find anywhere he belongs. There's Lorianne, a young wife who left a promising career in academia when she got pregnant. There's Henry, Lorianne's husband, who is working year after year on his thesis, with no end in sight. And there's Jessie, a TA who has always been a bit of an enigma. Over one turbulent summer, the intense connections between these four characters take a number of thrilling twists and turns, with each relationship taken to its breaking point.

In this fascinating and fast-paced novel, Keith Maillard expertly captures the ethos of the mid-1960s and explores threads of gender and sexuality, while holding up a mirror to the roots of modern-day American polarization.

About the author

Keith Maillard is the author of fourteen novels, including Two Strand River, Gloria, The Clarinet Polka, Difficulty at the Beginning, and most recently Twin Studies. He has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Literary Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Awards. Keith was born and raised in West Virginia, and now lives in Vancouver. He has been a musician, a contributor for CBC Radio, a freelance photographer, and a journalist. He teaches at the University of British Columbia.

Keith Maillard's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Keith Maillard

"[A] work of terrible beauty and grace, a masterpiece fit to contend with the best novels of the last century." GLOBE AND MAIL

"Maillard is a national treasure." KIRKUS

"Keith Maillard's books changed my life. They made me want to write, and to be a writer." DAVE BIDINI

"Keith Maillard is one of the finest English-language novelists in Canada today." VANCOUVER SUN

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