Freehand Books Spring 2015 Trade

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  • 1
    catalogue cover
    9781554812530 Paperback FICTION / Jewish Publication Date: May 01, 2015
    $21.95 CAD 6 x 9 x 0.75 in | 296 pages Carton Quantity: 21 Canadian Rights: Y Freehand Books
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Four distinct voices weave together the tale of a dysfunctional Montreal family obsessed with climbing the Kabbalah's Tree of Life. This literary debut by Jewish Daily Forward editor Sigal Samuel is reminiscent of Nicole Krauss's The History of Love and Myla Goldberg's Bee Season.

      The Meyer family lives in Mile End, home to a mashup of hipsters and Hasidic Jews, where down the street crazy Mr. Katz is building a tree out of plucked leaves, toilet paper rolls, and dental floss. When David, a skeptical professor of religion, is diagnosed with an unusual heart murmur, he becomes convinced that his heart is whispering divine secrets.

      But when David's frenzied attempts to ascend the Tree of Life lead to tragedy, his daughter Samara, who abruptly abandoned religion years earlier, believes it is up to her to finish what she started. As Samara's brother documents her increasingly strange behaviour, it falls to next-door neighbour and Holocaust survivor Chaim Glassman to shatter the silence that divides the members of the Meyer family. But can he break through to them in time?

      Long-held family secrets square off against faith and secularity in this remarkable debut novel, written with extraordinary heart and intelligence.

      Bio

      Sigal Samuel is an award-winning novelist, journalist, essayist, and playwright. Currently a Staff Writer at Vox, she previously worked as Religion Editor at The Atlantic, Opinion Editor at the Forward, and Associate Editor at the Daily Beast. She has also published work in the Rumpus, BuzzFeed, Electric Literature, Refinery 29, Il Sole 24 Ore, Haaretz, Tablet, and the Walrus. She has appeared on NPR, BBC, CBC, and Huffington Post Live. Her six plays have been produced in theaters from Vancouver to New York.

      Sigal earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and her BA in Philosophy from McGill University. Originally from Montreal, she now lives in Washington, DC. The Mystics of Mile End, her debut novel, was nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, and won the Fiction Prize at the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards and the Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards in 2016.

      Marketing & Promotion

    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year 2016, Winner
      Canadian Jewish Literary Award 2016, Winner
      International Dublin Literary Award 2017, Long-listed
      Reviews

      "Brimming with magic and mystery, The Mystics of Mile End tells the story of a family haunted by secrets and loss, and the ways in which they try to wrest meaning out of their lives. Sigal Samuel fearlessly delves into the esoteric world of Jewish mysticism and its intersection with urban life in modern-day Montreal. Engaging, tender, intelligent, this is a remarkable debut from a promising new literary voice." -- Ayelet Tsabari, author of The Best Place on Earth

      "If Sigal Samuel was ever cautioned against tackling themes of mysticism, tradition, queer identity, death and recovery all in the same debut novel, she most triumphantly ignored that advice. Wonderfully ambitious, yet deftly crafted, The Mystics of Mile End is a rich and exuberant read. Dig in!" -- Amber Dawn, author of Sub Rosa

      "...[Sigal Samuel's] characters are skilfully wrought--it's not easy to pull off multiple points of view in a single piece, but here, each is distinctive. A cast of quirky secondary characters makes for a well-furnished world, while Samuel deftly incorporates scientific and religious concepts as well as works of literature into the text." --Carly Rosalie Vandergriendt, PRISM

      "The Mystics of Mile End (Freehand Books), a first novel by former Montrealer Sigal Samuel, captures the spirit of the duality of one of the world's most vibrant neighborhoods. At once an exploration of Kabbalah, queer culture and physics, the book is a family saga that grapples with the tensions between science and faith. To discover a new writer with so much talent and potential is a singular thrill." --Canadian Jewish Literary Award jury, 2016


      "Brimming with magic and mystery, The Mystics of Mile End tells the story of a family haunted by secrets and loss, and the ways in which they try to wrest meaning out of their lives. Sigal Samuel fearlessly delves into the esoteric world of Jewish mysticism and its intersection with urban life in modern-day Montreal. Engaging, tender, intelligent, this is a remarkable debut from a promising new literary voice." ? Ayelet Tsabari, author of The Best Place on Earth

      "If Sigal Samuel was ever cautioned against tackling themes of mysticism, tradition, queer identity, death and recovery all in the same debut novel, she most triumphantly ignored that advice. Wonderfully ambitious, yet deftly crafted, The Mystics of Mile End is a rich and exuberant read. Dig in!" ? Amber Dawn, author of Sub Rosa

      "?[Sigal Samuel's] characters are skilfully wrought?it's not easy to pull off multiple points of view in a single piece, but here, each is distinctive. A cast of quirky secondary characters makes for a well-furnished world, while Samuel deftly incorporates scientific and religious concepts as well as works of literature into the text." ?Carly Rosalie Vandergriendt, PRISM

      "The Mystics of Mile End (Freehand Books), a first novel by former Montrealer Sigal Samuel, captures the spirit of the duality of one of the world's most vibrant neighborhoods. At once an exploration of Kabbalah, queer culture and physics, the book is a family saga that grapples with the tensions between science and faith. To discover a new writer with so much talent and potential is a singular thrill." ?Canadian Jewish Literary Award jury, 2016

  • 2
    catalogue cover
    9781554812288 Paperback FICTION / Short Stories Publication Date: May 01, 2015
    $21.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.5 in | 192 pages Carton Quantity: 27 Canadian Rights: Y Freehand Books
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Rhonda Douglas's debut collection dazzles with its daring and dangerous prose. Welcome to the Circus, where every moment is a tight-rope act, precariously balancing on the edge of destruction.

      In these stories, a choir processes its collective grief at the loss of one of its members to cancer; a teenage boy marks himself with the poetry of John Donne; God explains the collapse of the cod fishery; Mata Hari stands trial; and two sisters try to reconcile their respective places in the family porn emporium business before everything blows up.

      These ten strikingly original stories explore love and escape?how we escape to love, escape through love, and escape ourselves and hold on to love. Together, the stories of Welcome to the Circus highlight the acrobatic, courageous circus acts we all learn to perform.

      Bio

      Rhonda Douglas is the author of Some Days I Think I Know Things: The Cassandra Poems (Signature Editions, 2008) and the short fiction collection Welcome to the Circus (Freehand Books, 2015). She is a graduate of the UBC MFA in Creative Writing Program. You can find her online at shallicompare.com and on Twitter: @shallicompare. She splits her time between Ottawa and the Maple Leaf Lounge.

      Marketing & Promotion

    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Ottawa Book Award 2016, Short-listed
      Reviews

      "[Douglas's stories] bubble with originality and daring... an exhilarating read." -- Publishers Weekly

      "Rhonda Douglas's Welcome to the Circus does what great short story collections do: just when you think you're safe, caught in the ebb and flow of strong narrative, the stories surprise you with a shift of the bare and the raw, each with those flashes of insight that are most akin to the spotlit reveal of nakedness. It has perhaps the best thing that you can say about any collection: they may be stories, but they read like truth. With a vast breadth of style, from Paleolithic romance to the spare desperate needs of a businesslike sex club, Welcome to the Circus delivers. This is a collection worth waiting for, and worth thinking about." -- Russell Wangersky, author of Whirl Away

      "Rhonda Douglas has a knack for making the bizarre seem reasonable and deeply human. A resurrected Neandertal, a Job Creator of the Year pornographer, a John Donne obsessed cutter, God -- these are just a few of the surprising characters in her circus. This funny, moving debut is a show you won't want to miss." -- Caroline Adderson, author of Ellen in Pieces

      Every story in this collection is so precisely written and expertly handled..." -- Rhonda Collis, PRISM international


      "[Douglas's stories] bubble with originality and daring... an exhilarating read." ? Publishers Weekly

      "Rhonda Douglas's Welcome to the Circus does what great short story collections do: just when you think you're safe, caught in the ebb and flow of strong narrative, the stories surprise you with a shift of the bare and the raw, each with those flashes of insight that are most akin to the spotlit reveal of nakedness. It has perhaps the best thing that you can say about any collection: they may be stories, but they read like truth. With a vast breadth of style, from Paleolithic romance to the spare desperate needs of a businesslike sex club, Welcome to the Circus delivers. This is a collection worth waiting for, and worth thinking about." ? Russell Wangersky, author of Whirl Away

      "Rhonda Douglas has a knack for making the bizarre seem reasonable and deeply human. A resurrected Neandertal, a Job Creator of the Year pornographer, a John Donne obsessed cutter, God ? these are just a few of the surprising characters in her circus. This funny, moving debut is a show you won't want to miss." ? Caroline Adderson, author of Ellen in Pieces

      Every story in this collection is so precisely written and expertly handled..." ? Rhonda Collis, PRISM international

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