Set in the early 1950s in Montreal, this is the story of enigmatic Peggy Sanderson?a woman who has become a socially awkward presence due to her open and casual association with black musicians in Lower Town nightclubs. White and black men assume she must be involved sexually with the musicians, white women are perplexed by her, and black women both fear and loathe her. Yet Peggy’s almost guileless sense of ease is at complete variance with these assumptions and attitudes. When Jim McAlpine, a writer and journalistically engaged intellectual, falls in love with her, lives are ruined and careers are broken. Taking place before the civil rights movement, this tragic story explores race relations with great moral complexity and compassion.
Morley Callaghan was a novelist and short story writer. He is the author of numerous books, including A Literary Life, The New Yorker Stories, Such Is My Beloved, and That Summer in Paris. He is the recipient of the Governor General’s Award and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. David Staines is a literary critic, award-winning writer, editor, and an English professor at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of the essay collection The Canadian Imagination, editor of the scholarly Journal of Canadian Poetry, and general editor of McClelland and Stewart's New Canadian Library. He has published a number of major essay collections, including He lives in Ottawa, Ontario. Edmund Wilson was an author and one of the most prominent social and literary critics of the 20th century and the recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal for Literature.