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Passing Ceremony

Written by Helen Weinzweig

Introduction by Jim Polk

  • 128 Pages
  • 9781487002602
  • 8.5" x 5.5"
  • FICTION / Literary



Publication Date August 26, 2017

In this brilliant debut novel by Helen Weinzweig, the award-winning author of Basic Black With Pearls, a wedding reception becomes a gothic dream in which the bride, groom, family, and guests struggle with private obsessions, guilty fantasies of sex and power, and the constant failure of love. The bride is not all she seems and there is something ambiguous about the groom — and about everyone else at the surreal and strangely moving wedding.

Like a piece of music, Passing Ceremony is composed of brief, suggestive fragments that grow into a tightly integrated whole. There are bits of real and imagined conversation; polite dialogues that slide into mad comic banality; and scenes that could be quiet nightmares out of Borges.

A satire and a rueful mediation on the ways people hurt one another, Weinzweig gives us a world suspended in time, an uneasy territory of the soul, which we all inhabit.

This edition features a new introduction by Jim Polk.


Helen Weinzweig

Helen Weinzweig is the author of the novels Passing Ceremony and Basic Black with Pearls, winner of the Toronto Book Award. Her short story collection, A View from the Roof, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. Helen Weinzweig died in Toronto in 2010.

Jim Polk


“A remarkable piece of writing.” — Toronto Star

“Polished, forceful, and poetic.” — Ottawa Citizen

“An unmistakable signature of a true artist.” — Books In Canada

“Handled with skill.” — Chatelaine

“A brilliant first work of fiction.” — Edmonton Journal

“Challenging and sophisticated.” — Quarry