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Fiction Contemporary Women

Reinventing the Rose

by (author) Kenneth J. Harvey

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2011
Contemporary Women, Medical, Family Life
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2011
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2011
    List Price

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As a fatherless girl with a mother who persistently encouraged her daughter’s artistic temperament, Anna Wells is highly sensitive to the life developing in her when she discovers she is pregnant. Anna’s gynecologist boyfriend, Kevin, considers the time just not right to have children, so Anna moves to a 100-year-old house in Bareneed, an abandoned cove in Newfoundland, where she takes comfort in renovating the interior of her new home and working on a series of paintings detailing roses.

Paralleling Anna’s own journey is a minutely detailed, day-by-day development of the embryo. All goes well until a car arrives delivering a court summons. Kevin has filed a statement of claim seeking the termination of the embryo as "return of property."

One night, while still in Bareneed and upset over the impending legal action, Anna discovers an abandoned little girl almost frozen to death in her front yard. Mysterious circumstances continue to surround the children in Bareneed as pro-choice and pro-life factions marshal their forces.

About the author

Kenneth J. Harvey recently won the prestigious Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize and is the author of several novels, including Shack: The Cutland Junction Stories, The Flesh So Close, Skinhound: There Are No Words, The Woman in the Closet, Brud (Little, Brown), and Nine-tenths Unseen (Somerville House). Harvey has held the post of Writer in Residence at both the University of New Brunswick and Memorial University. He lives in an outport in Newfoundland.

Kenneth J. Harvey's profile page


  • Commended, Dewey Divas and the Dudes

Editorial Reviews

Harvey is a careful painter himself, constructing Anna with care and complexity. Particularly beautiful are the books initial chapters detailing her private pain.

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald

The newest work from acclaimed Newfoundland author Kenneth J. Harvey, Reinventing the Rose has already reached international bestseller status with a gripping and at times dark story sure to pull at a wide range of emotions.

The Newfoundland Herald

This is a book that hardly ever rests. Every turn reveals something fantastical, phantasmagoric and that word again audacious.

Toronto Star

This book had me gripped right away, with that a signature narrative hook of his I was reading the thing, all alone, outside a neighbourless cabin, in the pitch black night, and like a little girl, ran inside and turned on all the lights. He's got a way of mastering point of view that puts his story under your skin and your nerves on edge.

The Telegram

In Reinventing the Rose, Kenneth J. Harvey has crafted a startling and unique story of a woman whose body and the pregnancy that lies within it are no longer her own. Harvey's ability to create suspense through intimate details, unanswered questions and presences, is remarkable and lasting. By throwing splashes of color into a black and white landscape, Harvey knows how to manipulate a single, simple moment and give it the weight of the world.

Part psychological thriller, part political conflict pro-life and pro-choice activists go head to head Reinventing The Rose is a potent page-turner.

NOW Magazine

Profoundly entertaining...a pulpy page-turner.

The National Post

Horrific, offensive and greatly entertaining.

The Ottawa Citizen

Newfoundland-born-and-bred-in-the-bone Kenneth J. Harvey, Back-of-Beyonder Wonder, master of several literary forms as well as artistic genres including poetry, commentaria, criticism, filmmaking and, most notably, fiction, especially the rapturously received just-published Reinventing the Rose...

The Globe and Mail

If there isn't a category of literature known as Maritime Postmodern, Kenneth J. Harvey continues to make a case that there should be, with himself as its leading proponent. Like 2006's Inside, about a wrongly convicted man attempting to reintegrate into society, Reinventing the Rose deftly explores themes of alienation and lays bare the interior life of its protagonist.

Quill and Quite

Reinventing the Rose rejects the simple clichés of consumer-culture pregnancy mags in favour of something else ... with elements so unsettling they raise the hair on my neck.

The Edmonton Journal

Reinventing the Rose delivers timely counterpunches against the economic and cultural policies of every political regime that uses the language of stable government and family values to overturn women's rights.

The Globe and Mail

Other titles by Kenneth J. Harvey