Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Summer Solstice Book Club
The author was Anthony de Sa and the book was Barnacle Love. This first novel was shortlisted for both the Giller and Toronto Book Awards. Recently optioned by Nellie Furtado to be made into a film. And now I have a signed, first edition that I will treasure in my personal library. Anthony also donated an autographed copy to the club.
The title story, Barnacle Love, is told to advance the plot and deepen our understanding of the characters; the way it's told is a wonderful technique of mixing memories into the present tense. Georgina recalls in detail the painful memory of the night her wedding bed was made and how her mother-in-law sabotaged the sacrament by leaving barnacles. The wounds were so deep they were bleeding crimson through her wedding dress the next day.
All who attended are looking forward to his next book... Carnival of Desire. Anthony read a few pages so we'd have a sneak preview of the manuscript that has just been delivered to the publisher.
I blogged about my first introduction to this author and his collection of linked short stories at the Heliconian in January 2010.
I loved the book so much I recommended it to both my book clubs and it found its way onto the official reading lists. Months later, via his blog, I discovered Anthony had paid a visit to a book club so approached him with an invitation to ours. He agreed and I looked forward to the event for weeks.
Anthony was incredibly generous with his time and attention, and incredibly candid about growing up as a first generation Canadian. The linked short stories draw from his past, but he was quick to point out they've changed to the point of being fiction.
To go with the Portuguese theme I asked my colleague Nuno for recommendations and then picked up some very tasty treats in Little Portugal: barbecue chicken (Churrasqueira do Sardinha at 707 College) and delicious pastries (Golden Wheat Bakery and Pastry at 652 College) pasties de nata, natas de cei, palmieres. What a feast!
Give a listen: