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- Shortlisted for the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and the 2015 ReLit Awards!
In North East, Wendy McGrath expands on the story she began with Santa Rosa, as a working class couple living in 1960s Edmonton drift further apart while their young daughter tries to understand subtle shifts she senses taking place under the surface of her family and her neighbourhood. A visit to her grandparents’ farm in the country reveals the abject poverty the couple came to the city to escape, and the internecine marital strife that threatens to be born anew.
McGrath’s crystalline, evocative prose conjures an image of the past that defies nostalgia, conjuring images of a city that is in the midst of rewriting its own history. Through the all-seeing eyes of her child protagonist McGrath conjures indelible scenes of harsh domesticity and small victories, of endless summertime days spent around the home and evenings at the drive-in theatre.
• Interview at Edmonton Journal
"North East is a poetic exploration of how we search and try to hold on to happiness.”
“In veracious, wide sweeps, and through sparsely punctuated prose, Wendy McGrath mimics the way that we remember. While within a few square blocks in 1960s Edmonton—a place we come to know intimately through its specificity of detail—we are continually just as unsettled and just as unsure as our young narrator is. North East is both sharp and rhythmic— specific and dreamlike.”
"The interplay between form and content is masterful."
"If the first entry in this trilogy felt like an elegy for a place, this second book is more an early funeral for a family struggling to remain cogent. This is an elegant, artful piece of work." full review
"[e]ven as the memory of Santa Rosa seems at risk of disappearing from the city’s consciousness entirely, McGrath’s fiction provides a bolt of hope. Her trilogy, once complete, may be the most visible and lasting tribute this neighbourhood has left." full interview
"Wendy McGrath, who is originally from Saskatchewan, has this poetic proficiency for illustrating the seemingly insignificant details of childhood, in the underwhelming idiosyncracies of youth and how they fathom the world around them." full review
"... crystalline moments of poetic clarity." full review
"Wendy McGrath’s novel is a must-read for those of us wanting to recapture the innocence of being a young child and the nostalgia associated with our hometowns." full review
"A compelling and solidly entertaining read from beginning to end." full review
"tremulous and dreamlike"