I’ve been meaning to talk about these books for a while now. All three of them stuck with me for a long time after I had read them recently. Three hard-hitters in strong subject matter and emotional punch, swirling varient themes of faith, trust, desire and suffering in a pool of beautifully written prose. All three of these books were written by amazing women authors (two of them being debut novels) and published by ECW Press. ECW (or Entertainment, Culture, Writing) is a Canadian publisher that continues to impress me with its breadth of content. I’m especially drawn to their literary selection, though they publish everything from Taylor Swift books to Wrestle mania, mystery, and children’s novels. Their books feel good to the touch, they provoke you, they make you think. Most importantly, they are stories I know I’m going to want to revisit and discuss…once I’ve had a chance to cope.
Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles chronicles a passionate affair between a Charlie, a married writer, and Veronica, an engaged hairdresser. These inherently flawed characters make for an engrossing trajectory that pits emotions and moral consciousness against each other, while waiting for that imminent crash and burn moment when one finally wins out over the other. Appropriately titled (with a beautiful and simple cover image) Fowles depicts all the unraveling complications of love and hate, duty, and deceit with accuracy and resolution.
The Miracles of Ordinary Men begins with Sam, who wakes up to find angel wings have inexplicably sprouted out of his back. Though only a select few can see them, his life begins falling apart under their weight. At the same time, Lilah, in coping with her younger brother’s recent mental collapse, finds sexual penance at the hand of her otherworldly boss. A haunting exploration of God, faith, and uncertainty that forces secular humanity into the face of inexplicable wonders. A brilliant take on good and evil under the guise of magical realism, Leduc draws out terror and magnificence from her writing while still leaving us to search for our own answers.
Watch How We Walk by Jennifer Lovegrove is the story of a Young Jehovah’s Witness named Emily who idolizes her older, fearless sister Lenora. Once a model Witness, the teenaged Lenora begins to rebel against their rigid upbringing, causing a rift in their already fragile family dynamic. As the child Emily acts like a sponge, filtering the emotionally laden circumstances that occur around her through an innocent perspective. 10 years later, adult Emily struggles with the serious emotional and physical scarring that has resulted from it. The slow reveal of what becomes of Emily and the fate of her sister is done with heartbreaking suspense and precision. A powerful, provoking, and intimate narrative that flows seamlessly from first person to third person and back and forth through a tumultuous decade.