Waiting for Joe

Waiting for Joe

Sandra Birdsell

Literature & Fiction

After you've lost it all — job, house, savings, future —what have you got left? A piercing new novel of our times by one of Canada's finest fiction writers.On a chilly early morning in late spring, Joe Beaudry and his wife, Laurie, wake up in circumstances that would challenge saints: they are on the lam in a stolen motorhome on the edge of a Walmart parking lot in Regina, Saskatchewan. They've gone bust, spectacularly: lost the house that was Joe's gift from his dad, lost the business Joe started when he got married, and stuck his ancient father in a nursing home in Winnipeg so they could flee their creditors. Joe knows the reality of the situation, and is trying to raise enough cash to get them both to Fort McMurray where he hopes he can find work. But Laurie, even though she watched Joe trash their high-end appliances with a sledgehammer when the yard sale didn't deliver enough cash, somehow thinks it's only temporary, and maxes out their last credit card on wardrobe and hair dye and wishes and dreams. For Joe, it's the last straw in a marriage that once seemed star-crossed and now seems simply unworkable.Pushed to figure out what to do next, Joe simply takes off hitchhiking, leaving Laurie waiting for Joe, and Joe wondering how he will ever find meaning in a world that has disappointed his every expectation. The road for both of them provides surprising answers...From the Hardcover edition.ReviewNATIONAL BESTSELLERWinner – Saskatchewan Book Awards Fiction Award“Birdsell is one of our best writers — no compromises, no hesitance, a full canvas.”  — Michael Ondaatje“Waiting for Joe stirs us to wonder who is waiting for us to change, move on or come home to a spiritual rest. Though close to the world of Flannery O’Connor, it is in its own special universe, the Birdsell landscape of the human heart.” — Winnipeg Free Press“Powerful and compassionate.” — Central Plains Herald Leader“Sandra Birdsell explores human beings with intelligence, sensitivity and wit. And there’s a wonderful clarity to her stories that fixes them in the mind and makes the imagination return to them.” — Calgary Herald“In fiction what I long for is a sense of the stories being alive — all hot, rude, contrary, funny, unbearable. You don’t get that nearly often enough, but in Sandra Birdsell’s work you do get it over and over again, and she has the energy, the faith, the skill, to make her stories overwhelm us.” — Alice Munro“The novel is a chilling critique of the heartland values the author knows so well. . . . Waiting for Joe is 100-percent genuine, bone-chilling Canadiana.”  — John Barber, The Globe and Mail“Deeply moving. . . . Birdsell draws . . . lives with vivid detail, suspense and sensitivity, creating a narrative that forces readers to keep turning the pages to find out how all the characters sort out their individual sense of ‘enough.’”  — Edmonton JournalFrom the Hardcover edition.About the AuthorSANDRA BIRDSELL, among Canada's finest fiction writers, was born in Manitoba, and lived for many years in Winnipeg. Her novel The Russländer was nominated for the Giller Prize, and her bestselling novel Children of the Day was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction. She is also the author of three collections of short stories. She lives in Regina.
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Agassiz Stories

Agassiz Stories

Sandra Birdsell

Literature & Fiction

The superbly crafted stories in this internationally acclaimed collection trace four generations of the Lafrenière family in the fictional small town of Agassiz, Manitoba, from the time of the great flood of 1950 to the present. There is Mika, the matriarch of the family, tired of being a mother to her children, and her Métis husband, Maurice, who is by turns fascinated and ashamed of his Native heritage. Their marriage has long been an uneasy truce. As their children grow up to pursue their own lives, the frustrations of one generation will collide with the dreams of another, and the past will leave an indelible mark on all that is to come. Agassiz Stories is at once funny and heartbreaking, and written with a rare, illuminating honesty.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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The Chrome Suite

The Chrome Suite

Sandra Birdsell

Literature & Fiction

Review"A miraculous novel.…Birdsell tightly controls the rich detail, the intense emotions of her story. . . ."–Globe and Mail“Part testimony, part remembrance, part discovery, The Chrome Suite goes inside out to tell a story of loss and remembrance.”–Quill & Quire“This novel has the power of all uncompromising fiction; Sandra Birdsell’s hard-edged, accurate prose and her unfailingly intelligent observations of the way people live are deeply satisfying to read.…”–Winnipeg Free Press“A masterful novel, which places her among the best of Canadian writers today.”–Montreal Gazette“The human landscape and the complexities of relationships ring true. Birdsell’s ability to enter the hearts of her characters keeps us hooked.”–Calgary Herald“A fluid quality to Birdsell’s prose bids you move ever onward, even into dark and menacing corners where unseen forces bind families, make them crackle with tension, make them unravel. She is that rarity, a consistently interesting writer with an original voice.…As Margaret Atwood captured the tensions that divide young girls in Cat’s Eye, so Birdsell explores the tensions – sexual, emotional, territorial – that fill Amy Barber’s house.…The Chrome Suite seems to have been written from some deep, dark well of inspiration.”–Books in Canada“The writing is always a joy, the kind that slows the reader down to savour every vivid moment.”–Quill & Quire“A passionate exploration of loss, betrayal, death, and the heartless whimsy of fate.…The writing is masterful. There is an uncompromising ferocity and harsh power to this author’s work.”–Canadian Book Review AnnualProduct DescriptionSet in Manitoba, Sandra Birdsell’s spellbinding novel reaches back nearly four decades into the life of scriptwriter Amy Barber. In a journey shadowed by the future and the past, Amy travels by car from Toronto to Winnipeg with her younger lover, and reconstructs the events that brought her to where she is today. As the narrative moves from a small town during one extraordinarily hot summer at the close of the fifties when a death changes everything, to the sixties and seventies when Amy marries, goes to live in the city, and begins to have reason to fear for her young son’s well-being, Sandra Birdsell uncovers the inadvertent damage that can be done within the most well-meaning of families. Vivid, darkly humorous, erotic, The Chrome Suite is an emotionally charged story of darkness and light that evokes the sometimes dangerous territory of the past.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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The Russlander

The Russlander

Sandra Birdsell

Literature & Fiction

Product DescriptionKatherine (Katya) Vogt is now an old woman living in Winnipeg, but the story of how she and her family came to Canada begins in Russia in 1910, on a wealthy Mennonite estate. Here they lived in a world bounded by the prosperity of their landlords and by the poverty and disgruntlement of the Russian workers who toil on the estate. But in the wake of the First World War, the tensions engulfing the country begin to intrude on the community, leading to an unspeakable act of violence. In the aftermath of that violence, and in the difficult years that follow, Katya tries to come to terms with the terrible events that befell her and her family. In lucid, spellbinding prose, Birdsell vividly evokes time and place, and the unease that existed in a county on the brink of revolutionary change. The Russländer is a powerful and moving story of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times.From the Hardcover edition.
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Children of the Day

Children of the Day

Sandra Birdsell

Literature & Fiction

bChildren of the Day/b opens on a June morning in 1953, when Sara Vandal, convinced that her husband has been having a decades-long affair, decides that she is too sick to get out of bed. With ten children in the house (and a possible eleventh on the way), this decision sets off a day of chaos, reflection and near disaster for the Vandal family.pSara#8217;s husband, Oliver, heads to the town hotel and bar in Union Plains, Manitoba, where he has been the manager for the past twenty years#8211;a position he suspects he#8217;ll no longer have by the end of the day. In an attempt to avoid the unavoidable, Oliver decides instead to pay a visit to Alice Bouchard, his childhood sweetheart across the river.brThroughout the day, both Oliver and Sara reflect on how their lives collided #8211; a car accident that brought them together and tore them from the futures their families expected of them. Sara (from Sandra Birdsell#8217;s previous novel, bThe Russl#228;nder/b) recalls her life in the big city of Winnipeg in the 1930s #8211; a young Russian Mennonite woman lucky enough to escape the shackles of her overbearing culture. Oliver remembers his wedding day photograph#8211;his the only M#233;tis face in a crowd of Mennonites#8211;and the precise moment when he suddenly grasped the enormity of his decision to #8220;do the right thing.#8221; pThe Vandal children, too, must deal with this unusual disruption of their daily routine. Alvina, the oldest, secretly handles the stress of her family, her plan to escape them all, and her discovery of the world#8217;s evil in the only way she knows how. Emilie worries about losing her happy-go-lucky father while facing the town#8217;s heretofore hidden racism head-on. The boys live up to their family name by recklessly taking chances and literally playing with fire. And since her mother won#8217;t come out of her bedroom, Ruby, just a little girl herself, must take charge of the babies with danger lurking in every corner.pBy nightfall the extended Vandal family will be thrown together to work out the problems of the past and exorcise the ghosts that haunt them, which have all, in their own way, set this June day#8217;s events in motion.piFrom the Hardcover edition./i
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