With The Age of Water Lilies, Theresa Kishkan has written a beautiful novel that travels from the time of colonial wars to the pacifist movement to 1960s Victoria, and shares a unique and delightful relationship between 70-year-old Flora and 7-year-old Tessa.
When Flora Oakden leaves her English home in 1912 for the fledgling community of Walhachin in British Columbia’s interior, she doesn’t expect to fall in love with the dry sage-scented benchlands above the Thompson River-and with the charismatic labourer who is working in the orchard. When he and all the men of Walhachin return to Europe and the battlefields of France, Flora remains behind, pregnant and unmarried. Shunned by those remaining in the settlement, she travels west to Victoria and meets freethinker Ann Ogilvie, who provides shelter for her in a house overlooking the Ross Bay Cemetery. Fifty years later, among the headstones of Ross Bay, curious young Tessa is mapping her own personal domain when her life becomes interwoven with that of her neighbour, the now-elderly Flora. Out of their friendship, a larger world opens up for these unlikely companions. Theresa has written a sweeping story that transcends time and springs from a passionate exploration of the natural world, its weather, seasons and plants.
About the author
Theresa Kishkan came to national attention in 2000, with her first full-length novel, Sisters of Grass. A true "writer's writer," she has been steadfastly championed by her peers as a writer against whom others measure their own work, and she has fostered the careers of many other writers while refining her own craft. A popular reader in British Columbia, Washington, and other parts of western Canada and the US, she is an enthusiastic organizer of and participant in regional literary events, and she has twice won Province of British Columbia Cultural Services awards. Kishkan's poetry and essays have appeared in periodicals including Brick, Canadian Forum, The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, Matrix, The Vancouver Sun, and Manoa (Hawaii) and in five book-length collections including the highly praised Black Cup and Morning Glory, which won the 1992 bp Nichol Chapbook Prize. She has also published a collection of essays on place and history, entitled Red Laredo Boots (New Star, 1996), which Susan Musgrave selected as one of her favourite books of the decade in BC Bookworld. Inishbream is based on a year the author spent on such an island in the 1970s. Today, she lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia with her husband, the poet John Pass.
Kishkan’s prose is clearly that of a poet, but it’s restrained in service to the narrative-rich and evocative, but never overwrought. —Quill & Quire
Theresa Kishkan paints a picture of a time gone by . . . The book unfolds deliberately like a grandfather clock ticking. —Coast Reporter
Kishkan has created characters the reader comes to care about. People, places, and objects operate of both a literal and metaphorical level. —Quill & Quire
Kishkan has a sure hand, kneading narrative from the quiet ache of loss and rebirth . . . Words never get in the way of good storytelling. —Vancouver Sun