Can you believe it’s almost the end of July? The summer is going by way too quickly! The silver lining with Summer slowly coming to a close is that books on Anansi’s 2016 Fall list are becoming available to order. With all our August titles on the Groundwood side now available to order, here’s what’s coming out on the Anansi side that you’ll be available to buy when August rolls around:
This is the story, based on fact, of a boy who couldn’t speak until the age of seven. Now twenty, he describes the events of his life.
Four-year-old Shahaab has not started talking. The family doctor believes there is no cause for concern; nevertheless, Shahaab is ridiculed by others who call him “dumb.” Young Shahaab doesn’t understand what the word means and thinks it is a compliment, until one day his cousin plays a trick on him to prove to everyone that the boy truly is the neighbourhood idiot.
When his mother recounts the incident to her husband, Shahaab is crushed to learn that his father also thinks the boy’s speech impediment indicates that his son is an idiot and thus brings shame on the family. Shahaab soon recognizes that his father’s love and esteem is concentrated on his older brother, Arash, and his younger sister, Shadee. In his innocent and deeply hurt child’s mind, he begins to believe that the “good” and “intelligent” children like his older brother are their fathers’ sons. On the other hand, children like him who are “clumsy” and “problematic” are their mothers’ sons. From that moment on, his world, which he thought was filled with beauty and kindness, suddenly turns harsh, full of anger and insult. He begins to lash out, taking childish revenge on those around him, encouraged by his two imaginary friends, Esi and Bibi.
No one in the family can understand Shahaab’s wild behaviour except his maternal grandmother, who seems to possess the understanding and the kindness he so desperately craves. Their growing bond leads to a deep friendship in which Shahaab is able to experience some happiness and finally find his voice.
The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches (A List Edition)
by Gaétan Soucy, translated by Sheila Fischman
Available at houseofanansi.com on July 31st
The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches, originally published in French as La Petite Fille qui Aimait Trop les Alumettes, dominated the bestseller lists and captured major media attention when it appeared in Quebec. It was the first novel published in Quebec ever to be nominated — let alone become a finalist — for France’s prestigious Prix Renaudot.
It is a magic-realist story of a boy and girl who grow up isolated (except through books and fairy tales) from the outside world and who must confront it together upon their father’s suicide. Soucy’s signature playfulness, surprising twists, and fascination with guilt, cruelty, and violence make The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches a triumph.
As entertaining as they are insightful, the stories in The Path of Most Resistance are anchored by the concept of passive aggression in our everyday lives: ordinary people who are quietly, desperately, and indirectly trying to impose their will on the uncaring world around them.
From a woman who compulsively shops for luggage in order to sublimate her desire for a divorce to a senior citizen who tries to force his family to visit by refusing to eat, the characters in this collection try to change their lives through oblique resistance. The stories also humorously show readers how passive aggression is perhaps at its most effective when carried out in smaller, more insidious ways. Uncertain about the state of his relationship, a man obsesses, but refuses to clean, a spot of mould in the bathroom.
The Path of Most Resistance is an observant and compassionate look at the feelings of powerlessness that we all share, and will have readers silently cringing and nodding in recognition of their own bad behaviour.
What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.