Such a Lovely Afternoon is a poignant, unflinching collection, including a novella, six linked stories and two others. Characters confront urgent questions about gender, identity, family, community, what reconciliation in Canada might look like and where it falls painfully short.
A refugee single dad caring for a man with fetal alcohol effects becomes a scapegoat. A useless toilet, a derelict landlord and wacky neighbours turn an unemployed woman's cabin life upside down. In the linked section, we first meet Tracy, a feisty tomboy grappling with gender roles. As a cub reporter, she finds herself caught in a typhoon in China, then covering an inquest for a Yukon teen who froze to death. With her boyfriend Rick, she struggles to care for both their baby and Rick's mother who lives with dementia and residential school trauma. In the final and title story, Tracy attends the preliminary hearing into her father's murder by a mentally ill former patient, and she, her brothers and grandmother each try in their own ways to make sense of the unfathomable and move on with their lives.
Brimming with compassion, humour and wisps of hope, the stories are set against vivid landscapes from Canada's West Coast to Hong Kong to the Yukon.