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Fiction Psychological

Mouthing the Words

by (author) Camilla Gibb

Doubleday Canada
Initial publish date
Jun 2017
Psychological, Literary, Humorous
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1999
    List Price

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"Moving and comic at once. . . . Hallucinatory, hilarious, and haunting." --Boston Globe

Thelma is six years old, and life at home is unsettling and disturbing. When her family moves from England to Canada, she encounters potential parents to replace her deeply flawed pair and even makes some friends, but mostly she lives in the fertile, extraordinarily vivid, and skewed world of her own imagination. Reminiscent of Jeanette Winterson and Sylvia Plath, and by turns harrowing and wonderfully funny, Mouthing the Words is the remarkable first novel from bestselling author Camilla Gibb.

About the author

Contributor Notes

CAMILLA GIBB was born in London, England, and grew up in Toronto. She is the author of four internationally acclaimed novels--Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement--as well as the bestselling memoir This Is Happy. Camilla has been the recipient of the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award and the CBC Canadian Literary Award and has been shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the RBC Taylor Prize. She has a Ph.D. from Oxford University, has been writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto, the University of Alberta and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Colombia, and is an adjunct faculty member of the graduate creative writing programs at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph-Humber. She is currently the June Callwood Professor in Social Justice at Victoria College, University of Toronto.

Editorial Reviews

"Mouthing the Words rings with an authority rarely found in first novels. By dint of Gibb’s lush, visceral prose, Mouthing the Words persuasively charts one woman’s journey back to wholeness." --The Washington Post
"Gibb scales her story small, twists her sentences into prickly, unsentimental assaults and ends up with a portrait of terrible, comic humanity." --The New York Times

"Camilla Gibb’s combination of real insight and deranged detail makes this novel moving and comic at once. Thelma’s words are hallucinatory, hilarious, and haunting." --The Boston Globe

"Gibb’s prose is elegant and sings with an almost Victorian delicacy and sophistication: Dickens, interrupted." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Brilliant and unsettling." --Kirkus Reviews

"An arresting study of a doomed and stolen childhood." --The Sunday Times

"Her tales of growing up in Canada with neglectful parents are both funny and alarming. . . . Gibb seduces the reader with sparky prose and charming storylines before drawing us onto a heart-wrenching roller-coaster ride through one breakdown after another." --The Guardian

"An insightful and humane exploration of the space between reason and imagination." --The Times

"[A] startling debut. . . . If it weren’t for Gibb’s smart, punchy prose – a smashing combination of the heartbreaking and the hilarious – this might have been a sad story. . . . [But] Gibb is too smart and the novel is far too compelling. . . . Instead, she challenges both the reader and narrator, eliciting an examination of the self – the good, the bad, the pleasure, the pain, and the unrelenting humor that exists in all of us.’ --Vogue

"Uniquely tackles family horrors with wit and verve suggestive of Wilde at his spirited best. Gibb’s narrative of a troubled childhood leaves you poised — sometimes within a single sentence — between laughter and heartbreak." --The Globe and Mail

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