Sharon Butala's new novel begins with the wrong kind of bang when retiring social worker Judith falls on the ice on the way to her retirement party. The debilitating concussion that follows seems to shake loose a confusing whirl of memories.
Judith is a mother of four, and her relationships with her daughters are complicated. They all seem to have men trouble, except for the wild daughter who seems to have settled down, inexplicably to Judith, in Jerusalem. With her ears still ringing and her strength compromised by a shaky recovery, Judith leaves Calgary and, to everyone's bewilderment, moves back to the town near the family farm. In Wisdom, Saskatchewan, she confronts many unanswered questions: Why was her father, a World War Two vet, so troubled” What are her brother and sister hiding from her” As she pursues answers to unsolved mysteries in her own life, more complicated and wider ranging questions arise.
Living in a small town is a shock after the anonymity of a big city. Judith finds herself exposed to watchful neighbours, and she is watchful in turn, seeing things that are mystifying at first?and then alarming. Small town bigotry and what looks like a serious crime unfolding in the house next door make her return even more difficult?what is she doing here” Does she have enough wisdom to unravel her past” Does she have a future in a place where she is not exactly welcome?
This thought-provoking and very readable tale shows not only the suffering that comes from family secrets, but also unfolds one woman's late life awakening to the complex shadows cast by World War Two and the Holocaust.
About the author
Sharon Butala is the author of nineteen books of fiction and nonfiction, numerous essays and articles, some poetry and five produced plays. She published her first novel in 1984, Country Of The Heart, which was nominated for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, followed closely by a collection of short stories, Queen of the Headaches. She was born in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan, she taught English in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. She eventually returned to Saskatoon, before moving near Eastend, Saskatchewan, to live on her husband, Peter Butala’s ranch. Sharon’s books have been on the Canadian bestseller lists, including her memoir, The Perfection Of The Morning, which reached #1 in July 1994 and remained on the list for over a year. Most recently, Wild Rose was also on the bestseller lists. Sharon has read all over Canada and in the United States as well as in Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Ireland. She has been a guest at nearly every literary festival in Canada and some US festivals, as well as teaching literally dozens of writing workshops. Sharon has been a guest at the “Geography of Hope” conference on Wallace Stegner, at Point Reyes Station, California. She has also been a guest speaker at Speak to the Wild: a multi-disciplinary gathering dedicated to the politics and poetics of wilderness, at Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC. She is also in demand as a lecturer, having spoken recently at the Edmonton Jung Forum, the Banff Centre for the Arts Book Discussion Weekend, the “Books ‘n’ Brunch” series in Toronto, the UBC and Hollyhock’s “Summer Speakers’ Series” in Vancouver, the Vancouver Institute, and was a keynote speaker at the narratology conference at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, among other engagements. Sharon has also been a keynote speaker at the International Grasslands conference and delivered the inaugural annual lecture at University of Saskatchewan Creative Writing program.
Other titles by Sharon Butala
This Strange Visible Air
Essays on Aging and the Writing Life
Season of Fury and Wonder
Where I Live Now
A Journey through Love and Loss to Healing and Hope
The Look Book
Spring 2017 Sampler
Dinner On The Edge Of The City
Dark Of The Moon
Mermaid In The Watery Deep