Book Club meets on the last Monday of every month in the Youth Centre at Fairfield Community Place, 1330 Fairfield Rd.
For more information or to join the book club, email email@example.com
VICTORIA AUTHOR’S FESTIVAL
Join the book club as they attend the Victoria Festival of Authors on September 25th at 1:30 pm at the Greater Victoria Public Library central branch in the Community Room.
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina opens with this famous line. Family dynamics in all their complexities have long been a focal point of literary fiction. The authors in this panel are no exception. In The Best Kind of People, Zoe Whittall examines familial loyalty, while Next Year For Sure, Zoey Leigh Peterson’s poignant debut novel explores polyamory, and Barbara Gowdy’s stunning Little Sister navigates a mother-daughter relationship with a mother who’s in the early stages of dementia. Moderated by Esi Edugyan
For more information please visit: victoriafestivalofauthors.ca
George Woodbury is a teacher at a prestigious Connecticut prep school. He is voted Teacher of the Year every year, after he rescued the school from a gunman attack. On his daughter’s 17th birthday this beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety with teenage girls on a skiing trip. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, a lawyer, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years coming out as gay. With George awaiting trial, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
The Best Kind of People is a portrait of a family on the brink of collapse. It gives no easy answers, but once you stay up all night reading it, you’ll want to talk about it with everyone you know.
The Book Club is sponsoring a book launch for Wherever I Find Myself: Stories of Canadian Immigrant Women on July 4th.
In this third anthology in the Canadian women series by Caitlin Press, Canadian immigrant women from a variety of ethnicities and intersecting identities share their diverse and personal stories. A woman takes on the complex and often baffling nuances of the English language, a Ugandan refugee and her family settle in Canada only to find their father is forever changed, a Portuguese woman recalls her fear when her parents are forced to leave her and her sister alone in a dangerous situation, and a woman from Thailand re-discovers her history and culture in spite of being told that “There was no room for the past in the bright worlds to come.”— these are portraits of women attempting to navigate unfamiliar landscapes, and their desire to be accepted despite differences in accent, sexuality, skin colour, or taste in food. Whether home is a place they long to return, desire to create, or hope to preserve in the language of their families, each writer reveals how pieces of their history have brought them closer to, or farther from the feeling of belonging.
The novel’s central character is Gabriel Quinn, a successful scientist of First Nations descent working for the multinational chemical company Domidion. Returning for a visit to Smoke River, the Indian reserve in British Columbia where his mother grew up, he finds a virtually deserted ghost town, and soon learns that GreenSweep, the defoliant product he helped to develop for the company, destroyed the local environment and killed or drove away the community’s residents.
Distraught over his role in the community’s destruction, he plans to commit suicide by drowning himself in the Pacific Ocean, but is drawn into a journey of spiritual redemption after jumping into the water to save a group of people from drowning. After the ordeal, he meets Mara, a young woman who lost her family in the Kali Creek crisis. Meanwhile, in Toronto, Domidion CEO Dorian Asher is drawn into a media frenzy as the company is implicated in another unfolding environmental disaster in the Athabasca Oil Sands.
By Bill Gaston (Victoria-based Author)
Monday July 31st at 6:30 pm
A recently divorced, early retiree accidentally burns down his house on the day he pays off the mortgage, only to discover that an uncharacteristic oversight has pitted him against an impassive corporate bureaucracy. An old friend of his, a middle-aged musician, enters into a final negotiation with the pain of esophageal cancer. Her father, who left his family years ago to practice Buddhism in Nepal, ends his days in a facility for Alzheimer s patients. These three are tied together by a book called The World, written by the old man in his youth.
Possibly autobiographical, the book tells the story of a historian who unearths a cache of letters, written in Chinese, in an abandoned leper colony off the coast of Victoria. He and the young Chinese translator fall in love, only to betray each other in the cruelest way possible, each violating what the other reveres most.
Magnificently written, structurally daring, and a masterful blend of imagination and observation, The World is arguably the greatest achievement so far of Bill Gaston’s career.
by Carmen Aguirre (Vancouver-based Author)
Monday, June 26th at 6:30 pm
Carmen Aguirre has lived many lives, all of them to the full. At age six she was a Chilean refugee adjusting to life as a Latina in North America. At eighteen she was a revolutionary dissident married to a generous-hearted man she couldn’t fully love. In her early twenties she fought to find her voice as an actress and to break away from the stereotypical roles thrust upon her–Housekeeper, Hotel Maid, Mexican Hooker #1–all the while navigating the complex paths of lust and heartbreak. As she grew in her career, Aguirre became a writer, a director, an actress, and then a mother, but alongside her many multi-faceted identities was another that was unbearable to embrace yet impossible to escape; that of the thirteen-year-old girl attacked by one of Canada’s most feared rapists. Thirty-three years after the assault, Aguirre decided it was time to meet the man who changed her life.
Fierce, funny and enlightening, Aguirre interweaves her account of coming to grips with the attack that shook her world with a host of stories of life and love. From her passionate but explosive relationship with a gorgeous Argentinian basketball player to the all-consuming days at drama school in Vancouver; from the end of the Chilean revolutionary dream to life among the Chicano theatre scene of Los Angeles; from the child who was made the victim of a terrible crime to the artist who found the courage to face her assailant, Aguirre tells a story of strength and survival that will leave you speechless.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing
by Madeline Thien
Monday, May 29th at 6:30pm
Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations—those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences.
by Anosh Irani (Vancouver-based author)
Monday, April 24th 2017 at 6:30pm
“The Parcel is about a transgender sex worker, Madhu, in the red-light district of Bombay who is given an unexpected, harrowing task. Now, at forty, Madhu has moved away from prostitution, her trade since her teens, and taken up begging to support the leader of the hijras, Gurumai. One day Madhu receives a call from Padma Madam, the most-feared brothel owner in the district: A ‘parcel’ has arrived – a ten-year-old girl from the provinces, betrayed and sold by her aunt – and Madhu needs to prepare it for its fate.”
Laughing All the Way to the Mosque
by Zarqa Nawaz
Monday, March 27th 2017 at 6:30pm
“Zarqa Nawaz has always straddled two cultures. She’s just as likely to be agonizing over which sparkly earrings will “pimp out” her hijab as to be flirting with the Walmart meat manager in a futile attempt to secure halal chicken the day before Eid. Little Mosque on the Prairie brought Zarqa’s own laugh-out-loud take on her everyday culture clash to viewers around the world. And now, in Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, she tells the sometimes absurd, sometimes challenging, always funny stories of being Zarqa in a western society. From explaining to the plumber why the toilet must be within sitting arm’s reach of the water tap (hint: it involves a watering can and a Muslim obsession with cleanliness “down there”) to urging the electrician to place an eye-height electrical socket for her father-in-law’s epilepsy-inducing light-up picture of the Kaaba, Zarqa paints a hilarious portrait of growing up in a household where, according to her father, the Quran says it’s okay to eat at McDonald’s-but only if you order the McFish.”
By Esi Edugyan
Monday, February 27th, 2017 at 6:30pm
“Paris, 1940. A brilliant jazz musician, Hiero, is arrested by the Nazis and never heard from again. He is twenty years old. He is a German citizen. And he is black.
Half-Blood Blues is an entrancing, electric story about jazz, race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.”
by Katherena Vermette
Monday, January 9th, 2017 at 6:30pm
“When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break — a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house — she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime. A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.”
Register to join the book club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Heaviness of Things that Float
by Jennifer Manuel
Monday, November 28th 2016 at 6:30pm
Jennifer Manuel will be joining us at The Place on for a reading and discussion.
“Only weeks from retirement, Bernadette finds herself unsettled, with no immediate family of her own—how does she fit into the world? Her fears are complicated by the role she has played within their community: a keeper of secrets in a place “too small for secrets.” And then a shocking announcement crackles over the VHF radio of the remote medical outpost: Chase Charlie, the young man that Bernadette loves like a son, is missing. The community is thrown into upheaval, and with the surface broken, raw dysfunction, pain and truths float to the light.”