Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW: Forgotten treasure

Today we get to tell you about a book we wish had received more "attention" by bloggers....

I am sorely tempted to link you to my passionate post about Gwethalyn Graham (Award-winner! Canadian modernist! Bridged two solitudes! Single mother!) but that would sort of be cheating, right?

OK, so here's another one: The solace of leaving early, by Haven Kimmel (my cursory and unscientific Google search yields few blog reviews, but, to be fair, this book came out in 2003, and blogging wasn't the massive industry it is now...)

Kimmel was a poet before becoming a memoirist and novelist, and it shows. Solace is a hauntingly beautiful tale of two people, seemingly at odds, falling in love. Langston has recently abandoned both a romance and a PhD, and returns to her hometown to heal, and perhaps focus on writing a novel. Amos, a local preacher suffering from a spiritual crisis, meets Langston when he becomes involved in the care of the recently-orphaned daughters of Langston's childhood best friend. The girls have re-named themselves Immaculata and Epiphany, and claim to see the Virgin Mary in their backyard. What's the deal with the girls' religious obsessions? Are either Amos or Langston in a position to help them, or are they doing more harm than good? A book about existential dilemmas, religious doctrine versus empathy, personal grief, and human failings. Highly, highly recommended.

When I finished this, I remember copying entire paragraphs out to send in an e-mail to my best friend. Of course, can I find these quotes now? No. Sigh.

You'll just have to take my word for it. If you've ever read Kierkegaard or been angry with organised religion, go grab this book right now!


  1. Sounds like an unconventional read I would enjoy, and I love the title! Thanks for sharing with us!

  2. You're welcome! Feel free to comment again after reading :)

  3. Sounds intriguing. I'm always looking for a new Canadian author.

  4. This sounds really interesting! Thanks for bringing it to our attention. :)

  5. This sounds very different, but I like different! Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. sitting on my shelf, still unread. I should address that!