Join authors Jennifer Manuel and Rachael Preston as they celebrate the release of their new novels, The Heaviness of Things That Float (Douglas & McIntyre, $22.95) and The Fishers of Paradise (Wolsak & Wynn, $22.00). The reading and book signing will take place at the Mulberry Bush Bookstore (102 280 Island Hwy East, Parksville) on Thursday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free and books will be available for sale.
The Heaviness of Things That Float (Douglas & McIntyre) is a deft exploration of the delicate dynamic between First Nations communities and non-native outsiders. In this compelling debut, Manuel skillfully depicts the lonely world of Bernadette, a woman who has spent the last forty years serving as a nurse in a remote West Coast First Nations community. She is weeks from retirement when Chase Charlie, the young man she loves like a son, goes missing, and the community is thrown into upheaval. Through Bernadette’s self-examination of her own privilege, The Heaviness of Things That Float drops the gauntlet to every non-First Nations Canadian in this time of Truth and Reconciliation: try to know the other, but never assume to know the other.
Manuel has won awards for her short fiction, including the Storyteller’s Award at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference in 2013. She has also published short fiction in PRISM International, The Fiddlehead, Room Magazine and Little Fiction. Author Diana Gabaldon describes Manuel’s writing as “astonishing in its intimacy, delicate complexity and sense of compassion.” A long-time activist in Aboriginal issues, Manuel taught elementary and high school in the lands of the Tahltan and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples. She lives in Duncan, B.C.
The Fishers of Paradise is a new edition of an award-winning novel. In 1930s Hamilton, the boathouse community of Cootes Paradise is under siege: the squatters’ shacks that line the shores of Dundas Marsh stand in the way of ambitious plans to make the city beautiful. Egypt Fisher and her mother are struggling to keep their lives together in the absence of her father, a con man neither of them has seen for six years. Into this mix walks a handsome drifter and the family falls under his spell, until Egypt’s father unexpectedly returns. Unhinged by jealousy and a harrowing brush with the local mafia, he reveals a family secret that sets Egypt’s world off-kilter and poisons her relationship with her mother. When Egypt tries to turn the situation to her own advantage, her lies set in motion a series of events with devastating consequences.
Preston is the author of three novels, Tent of Blue, The Wind Seller and The Fishers of Paradise, which won the 2013 Kerry Schooley Award, which is given to the book that best captures the spirit of the city of Hamilton. She has taught creative writing in Ontario colleges and universities. For two years she chaired gritLIT: Hamilton’s Writers’ Festival. In 2001 she was nominated for the Journey Prize and in 2006 she won the City of Hamilton Arts Award for her contribution to the arts. Preston now lives in Nanaimo, B.C.
For more information about this event, please contact the Mulberry Bush Bookstore at 250-248-1193.
— Submitted by Harbour Publishing