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Thistledown Press Fall 2020

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  • 1
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    Ivy's Tree Wendy Burton Canada
    9781771871990 Paperback FICTION / Literary Publication Date:September 15, 2020
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.75 in | 475 gr | 288 pages Carton Quantity:40 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      Ivy’s Tree is the story of a 78 year old woman learning to navigate one of the largest cities in the world: Tokyo. With a distinct sense of place – Tokyo in the fraught economic times of 2007-08 – Ivy’s Tree is also the description of an old woman coming to terms with her relationship to her family. Summoned by her only daughter to Tokyo, Ivy is newly widowed and adjusting uneasily to life without her husband. Tokyo is a daunting city for a woman travelling alone, but more daunting is the difficult relationship between mother and daughter. Ivy has no connection with her son-in-law, a traditional Japanese salary man, and her grandsons, who do not know her.

      The novel is written from Ivy’s point of view. Armed with an old guide book, and keeping her travels secret from her new family, Ivy learns to negotiate an unfamiliar culture and a complex transportation system. Ivy’s inner commentaries, some provided by her dead husband Jack, are at times poignant and at other times wryly amusing. When her travels are discovered, Ivy is essentially put under house arrest, and further estranged from her daughter.

      Bio

      Wendy Burton studied English literature and feminist epistemology and taught work-place writing and adult education. She writes short stories, novels, and academic and creative non-fiction. She has had prose-poetry and academic non-fiction published over the past 20 years, most notably “Swimming Winter’s Lake” in Down in the Valley, editor Trevor Carolan and “Histories of Aboriginal Adult Education” in Contexts of Adult Education: Canadian perspectives edited by Fenwick, Nesbitt, & Spencer. Ivy’s Tree is her debut novel.

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  • 2
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    Raft Baby Bonnie Dunlop Canada
    9781771872027 Paperback FICTION / Historical Publication Date:September 15, 2020
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.63 in | 410 gr | 256 pages Carton Quantity:40 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      A sprawling historical novel set in the Peace River country in the early 1900’s, a period and a place that tested the mettle of all who came there. The novel is complex and layered, with multiple narrators, and interwoven stories. Its main story, though, is the mystical tale of a young girl straddling two worlds in ways she is not always aware of, with elements of love, sacrifice, greed, envy, heartbreaking sorrow, and unexpected twists in plot. The novel is set mostly in the past and chronicled through various voices that tell the Raft Baby’s amazing journey. We also hear directly from the Raft Baby herself, both at the beginning of the novel and at the end. Her voice is vital, true and clear and it validates the novel’s history and circumstances in the gentlest of ways.

      Bio

      Dunlop is at home in several genres — fiction, poetry and memoir. She is the author of two short story collections, The Beauty Box, winner of the Saskatchewan First Book Award (2004), and Carnival Glass (2008) which was also nominated for a SBA. Dunlop lives under the endless skies of Swift Current Saskatchewan, but shares an affinity with the Peace River area of Alberta. As she tells it, her uncle moved to the Peace River country from Saskatchewan in the dirty thirties. Trips to the Peace River country loom large in her childhood memories although, in reality, “how many times would my entire family drive 18 hours on less than stellar roads for a visit?” When her uncle died, his roots deep in the Peace, there was a clipping in his effects titled “Raft Baby of the Peace River.” Her cousin sent her the clipping and suggested it would make a great novel. She read the clipping and set it aside for ''sometime later.” That sometime later is now.

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  • 3
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    9781771872058 Paperback FICTION / Family Life Publication Date:September 15, 2020
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.5 in | 350 gr Carton Quantity:48 Thistledown Press
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Connie Kish won’t be written off as just another sad casualty of Alzheimer’s. Oddly at first, she’s the caregiver, finding ways to help her husband, Max, cope with what’s happening to her. When she sees that he’s utterly devastated and crying in secret, she decides to let him off the hook by divorcing him. She pushes him away with all her might while he hangs onto to her for dear life. There comes a new man into her life and another woman in his. In a comedy of errors, Connie and Max come out on the other side, together again. He has matured and stepped up as the caregiver. They’re awash in Alzheimer’s, trying to stay afloat and looking after each other in a mirroring of love back and forth between them.

      “Don’t write me off,” she says. “Don’t let me become a forgetful old biddy saying the same thing over and over again.”

      “Connie Kish an old biddy? Ain’t gonna happen. No way. No how.”

      “I like the sound of it. ‘Old biddy.’”

      “It’s too soon for you to become an old biddy,” Max says. “You’re going to have to wait until I become an old galoot.”

      “That’s us. The old biddy and the old galoot. When I forget your name, I’ll call you Old Galoot. And when you forget my name, you can call me Old Biddy.

      Bio

      Though this is Bruce McLean’s first novel, he has spent his lifetime writing. He claims that his early experiences include the toughening experience of working as a rivet passer in a shipyard, deckhand on a coastal freighter, logging camp chockerman, and labourer at an oil refinery. But it was what followed that gave him his language chops. He spent thirty-five years as a newspaper reporter and in various editing jobs starting with the Nelson Daily News, Trail Daily Times, the Columbian (New Westminster, BC,) Vancouver Sun, The Province, Globe and Mail, Toronto Telegram, and in London, England at the Croydon Times and Sunday Express. His storytelling in The Mañana Treehouse was inspired by the memory of his wife, Pauline St-Pierre Dion who spent the last seven years of her life with Alzheimer’s. He became what’s known as a ‘bitter ender’, with her all the way.

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  • 4
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    Murmuration A.B. Dillon Canada
    9781771871976 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:September 15, 2020
    $20.00 CAD 5 x 7.5 x 0.3 in | 300 gr | 104 pages Carton Quantity:100 Thistledown Press
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      A.B. Dillon's newest collection is a hybrid of memoir and prose poetry, curated masterfully upon the physics of flock behaviour called murmuration, which uses the rule of sevens — the idea that an optimal balance can be achieved when the birds interact with about seven of their neighbors. This is the construct that is used for the poet to delve into personal loss, grief, and redemption.

      These poems create reader intimacy through precision and expansiveness, revelation and inventiveness. The energy, playfulness, and acuity of the language pulls us up and into the swell of emotion, to subsume and vault us through the human condition. Murmuration is, at its core, a consideration of interconnectedness.

      Bio

      A. B. Dillon is an award-winning author and educator. Her first book, Matronalia, won the 2019 Alberta Writers' Guild Award for Poetry. 'Miss Mercy', a selection from this book, was long-listed for the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize. Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Dillon now resides in Calgary, Alberta.

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews

      SaskBook Reviews, Shelley A. Leedahl

      “Rarely does a first book make me question: what is this magic? I need to know who and how. When done exceptionally well, poetry, especially, can stir a cell-and-bone dance like no other genre. It’s just happened. Calgary poet A.B. Dillon’s Matronalia slices into the depths of what it is to mother a daughter, and to be mothered by a woman whose ideologies differ greatly from her own. With extraordinary skill, Dillon spins the prosaic into the profound.”

      Herizons, Kerry Ryan

      “The speaker in this collection refuses to conform to modern expectations about motherhood. She doesn’t organize place dates or mom’s groups. Instead she urges her daughter to be resilient, rejoice in herself and engage with art. These poems are what she can’t say out loud to her child: ‘When you have this disease, you speak in / tongues. The best way I can speak to you is in words on a page.’

      As a manifesto about a mother’s inability to love, it fails; Dillon’s beautiful poems are all heart.”

  • 5
    catalogue cover
    Nothing You Can Carry Susan Alexander Canada
    9781771871983 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:September 15, 2020
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.2 in | 250 gr Carton Quantity:100 Thistledown Press
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Nothing You Can Carry is rooted in a keen, even holy, sense of place within the natural world. Today that place is haunted by anxiety over a precarious present and a darker future. These poems take an honest, sometimes ironic and sometimes broken-hearted look at how the self and society are implicated in our climate crisis and the systemic complexities surrounding it.

      Yet life goes on. The collection moves through environmental fears and spills into all the areas that absorb the self – memory, story, family, love.

      These poems are vivid and vulnerable, humorous and emotional. They summon the deeper mysteries of being human in a world that is increasingly separate from the sacred.

      Bio

      Susan Alexander is the author of The Dance Floor Tilts. Her poems have received multiple awards and appeared in chapbooks, anthologies, several literary magazines in Canada and the U.K., as well as on Vancouver buses and in the woods at Whistler. Most recently her suite of poems, Vigil, received the 2019 Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Poetry. Susan lives and writes on Bowen Island/ Nexwle´lexm in Howe Sound/Atl’kitsem, unceded territory of the Squamish Nation.

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