After twenty years Max Binder is still in love with his fiery wife, Maggie, and is determined to get her the perfect fortieth birthday gift. But Max’s singular desire — to make his wife happy — leads to an unexpected event that changes the course of his family’s life and touches the people who make up their western prairie city.
Set over the course of a single year, Once More With Feeling tells the story of a community through intersecting moments and interconnected lives. The colourful citizens who make up this city — bisected by railway lines and rivers, connected by boulevards and back alleys — are marked by transformation, upheaval, and loss: the worker at a downtown soup kitchen who recognizes a kindred spirit amongst the homeless; the aging sisters who everywhere see the fleeting ghosts of two missing neighbourhood children; a communal voice of mothers anxious for the future of their children in the discomfiting world they inhabit — this place of memory, amnesia, longing, and belonging.
Featuring a cast of eclectic characters, Once More With Feeling is about a community, about a family, and about the way time makes fond fools of us all. Award-winning author Méira Cook has crafted a novel that is at once funny, poignant, and yes, full of feeling.
Méira Cook is the award-winning author of the novels The House on Sugarbush Road, which won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, and Nightwatching, which won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. She has also published five poetry collections, most recently Monologue Dogs, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry and for the 2016 McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. She has won the CBC Poetry Prize and the inaugural Walrus Poetry Prize. She has served as Writer in Residence at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, and the Winnipeg Public Library. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, she now lives in Winnipeg.
Cook is an extraordinary writer, an award-winning poet, as adept at plotting words as story — her sentences are truly magnificent.
Labyrinthine, projecting, reversing, traversing, all of life on a strand of a spider’s web — perhaps those words might tickle the intimate and intricate lives and loves that Cook shares in her magical pages. . . . the book reads like an extended poem, its elegant lines and diverse voices simply twisting and turning forever into a cat’s cradle conversation on women, mothers, daughters, sons, religion, life, death, growing up, tradition. . . . a damn good [novel].
Meira Cook . . . writes prose so fluid, so effortless, so vivid, you’re swept away on its sheer beauty and power. . . . Once More With Feeling manages to be both sharp and tender, tragic and fiercely funny, and wholly satisfying.
Brimming with warmth and a wry, often surrealistic sense of humour, Cook’s vibrant narrative delves beneath the tenuous surfaces of the everyday, asking us to re-examine the ways in which we see ourselves and understand the world.
Méira Cook has re-established her position as one of Manitoba’s, if not Canada’s, finest novelists.
Méira Cook has written a fine and funny novel that, like the city in which it is set, pulses with life, love, loss, and so much more. Vital and vivid characters spring from the page, grab your heart, and won’t let go.