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edition:Paperback
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category: Fiction
published: Aug 2020
ISBN:9781443457538
publisher: HarperCollins

The Company We Keep

A Novel

by Frances Itani

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non-classifiable, contemporary women
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $24.99
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Hardcover
category: Fiction
published: Aug 2020
ISBN:9781443457538
publisher: HarperCollins
Description

On Tuesday nights in the backroom of Cassie’s café, six strangers seek solace and find themselves part of a “Company of Good Cheer”

Hazzley is at loose ends, even three years after the death of her husband. When her longtime friend Cassandra, café owner and occasional dance-class partner, suggests that she start up a conversation group, Hazzley posts a notice on the community board at the local grocery store. Four people turn up for the first meeting: Gwen, a recently widowed retiree in her early sixties, who finds herself pet-sitting a cantankerous parrot; Chiyo, a forty-year-old fitness instructor who cared for her unyielding but gossip-loving mother through the final days of her life; Addie, a woman pre-emptively grieving a close friend who is seriously ill; and Tom, an antiques dealer and amateur poet who, deprived of home baking since becoming a widower, comes to the first meeting hoping cake will be served. Before long, they are joined by Allam, a Syrian refugee with his own story to tell.

These six strangers are learning that beginnings can be possible at any stage of life. But as they tell their stories, they must navigate what is shared and what is withheld. Which version of the truth will be revealed? Who is prepared to step up when help is needed? This moving, funny and deeply empathic new novel from acclaimed author Frances Itani reminds us that life, with all its twists and turns, never loses its capacity to surprise.

About the Author

Frances Itani

FRANCES ITANI has written eighteen books. Her novels include That’s My Baby; Tell, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; Requiem, chosen by the Washington Post as one of the top fiction titles of 2012; Remembering the Bones, published internationally and shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; and the #1 bestseller Deafening, which won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Published in seventeen territories, Deafening was also selected for CBC’s Canada Reads. A three-time winner of the CBC Literary Prize, Frances Itani is a Member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of a 2019 Library and Archives Canada Scholars Award. She lives in Ottawa.

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Editorial Reviews

Praise for That's My Baby: “Itani writes with a quiet grace, an acute attention to detail and a keen, empathic awareness of things not said, of secrets and hidden emotional truths… the beauty and force of the novel cannot be denied.” 

— Toronto Star

“Itani's company is Always Worth Keeping but this new set of characters is grieving in surprising and diverse and sometimes embarrassing ways, and doing it so wholeheartedly and experimentally, that I jumped into the group of them for good and keeps. This is a book that brings comfort and joy.” 

— Linda Spalding, Governor General’s Award-winning author of <em>The Purchase</em>

“A heart-wrenching story of hope and sacrifice, of human error and unconventional healing, in which the characters must test the strength of their love for one another in order to break free from the shadows of the past.” 

— Chatelaine

“Gravely beautiful… Itani’s prose is at its best in her lyrical descriptions of landscape… The historical research behind the novel is impeccable.” 

— <em>New York Times</em>

The Company We Keep is a multifaceted meditation on the living world of grief, starting with the irony of its title. With her characteristic compassion and gentle humour, Frances Itani brings us to Hazzley’s Grief Discussion Group, where we learn that grief assumes many guises – and isn’t always for the departed.” 

— Wayne Grady, author of <em>Up From Freedom</em>

Shortlisted for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize

— Praise for Tell

“A poignant story of love and sacrifice . . . . This is yet another unforgettable novel from a Canadian literary icon.” 

— Winnipeg Free Press

“This charming, uplifting portrait of strangers brought together by loss is a testament to the common roots of our suffering. Itani’s writing is familiar in all the best ways – cozy and comforting, like a letter from an old friend. Like grief itself, it leads us to unexpected and tender places.” 

— Dr. Jillian Horton, author of <em>We Are All Perfectly Fine</em>

“Frances Itani leads us away from a raucous world of politics and plagues in this insightful examination of lives left ragged by the surprising complexity of grief.” 

— Linden MacIntyre, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of <em>The Bishop’s Man </em>and <em>The Wake</em>

“Masterful … To read Tell is to drop seamlessly into the lives of [characters] so vivid and well drawn readers will celebrate their victories and cry alongside their anguish … An enthralling reminder of the toll the war – and all wars – take, not only on the soldiers but on the families who keep faith on the home front.”  

— Toronto Star

“Itani’s prose is seductive … That’s My Baby is a satisfying offering by an author who never fails to delight.” 

— Quill & Quire

“Itani's vivid storytelling, infused with music and seamless historical detail, reveals how memory, no matter how imperfect, can shape the person we believe ourselves to be.”

— CBC Books

“A wonderful story, with a richly detailed sense of time and place, and compelling characters who, ultimately, all have secrets to tell.” 

— Winnipeg Free Press

“Tell is a treasure: serious with humorous moments, potent and controlled, subtle yet deeply moving.” 

— Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury Citation

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