Thistledown Press Fall 2015

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  • 1
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    Mahihkan Lake R.P. MacIntyre Canada
    9781771870535 Paperback FICTION / Family Life Publication Date:October 01, 2015
    $19.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.38 in | 300 gr | 152 pages Carton Quantity:48 Thistledown Press
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      Description
      Immediately before his tragic death, stuttering mechanic Dave visits his younger brother Denny with a note for their sister Dianne. “D-don’t r-read it. D-don’t open it. D-don’t nnothing it,” Dave commands before taking off one last time for the abandoned family cabin at Mahihkan Lake, a place where disputes are settled with shotguns and arson is written off as an act of God. After the funeral – and a brief stint in rehab for the gin-dependent Denny – he and Dianne head north to spread their adopted brother’s ashes and attempt to rebuild their fractured relationship. Meanwhile Harold, a truck driver who has lost everything, sets out on a solo canoe trip towards his own cabin at Mahihkan, but a series of mishaps.
      Bio

      R.P. MacIntyre is best known for his award-winning young adult fiction. He has also written for television, radio, and the stage and has edited and compiled over thirty-five anthologies of YA fiction, one of which won the Canadian Librarian Association’s Book of the Year in 1997. Mahihkan Lake is his seventh book and his first adult novel.
      Previous Books:
      Yuletide Blues, Thistledown Press, novel, 1991.
      The Blue Camaro, Thistledown Press, short fiction, 1994.
      The Crying Jesus, Thistledown Press, short fiction, 1997.
      The Sins of St. Dave, Playwrights Union of Canada, play, 1998.
      Revved, Thistledown Press, short fiction, 2002.
      Feeding at Nine, Thistledown Press, short fiction, 2006.
      Apart (w. Wendy MacIntyre), Groundwood Press, novel, 2007
      Awards:

      • Winner Saskatchewan Book Awards Children’s Literature for Feeding at Nine: 2007. (Also nominated for Fiction Award.)
      • Winner
      • Saskatchewan Centennial Medal of Honour for work in Literary Arts: 2005.
      • Winner Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Short Manuscript Award for “The Rink”: 2004.
      • Winner Saskatchewan Book Awards Saskatoon Book Award for The Crying Jesus: 1998. (Also nominated for Children’s Literature Award.)
      • Winner Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year for Takes: 1997.
      • Winner Saskatchewan Book Awards Publishing in Education Award for Takes: 1996.
      • Winner Vicky Metcalf Award for Short Fiction for ”The Rink”: 1993.
      • Winner Best Educational Documentary at Saskatchewan Film and Video Showcase for A Room Full of Men: 1992.
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  • 2
    catalogue cover
    9781771870528 Paperback FICTION / Family Life Publication Date:October 01, 2015
    $19.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.45 in | 325 gr | 184 pages Carton Quantity:40 Thistledown Press
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      Description
      Historian Tanis and high school teacher Neil have just purchased their dream home on Saskatoon’s west side: a fixer-upper with plenty of character and an abundance of history to uncover. But as Tanis moves deeper towards uncovering the secrets of the Tanner family who originally inhabited their home – and the cause of the mysterious stains on the attic floor – Neil is pulled into a drama of his own, as two aboriginal teenagers from his school have gone missing and he is being looked to as a suspect. Taking its title from the Old English nursery rhyme “How Many Miles to Babylon?”, Yes, and Back Again examines the personal journeys required to bridge the distances between individuals, cultures, and generations in an atmosphere marked by class and racial divisions.
      Bio

      Sandy Bonny is a writer and visual artist with an academic background in science. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals and anthologies including Prairie Fire, Grain, and The Danforth Review, and was featured in Coming Attractions 11, Oberon Press’ annual anthology of up-and-coming Canadian fiction writers. Her first collection of short fiction, The Sometimes Lake (Thistledown Press, 2012), was nominated for the 2013 Saskatchewan Book Award for Best First Book. Yes, and Back Again is her first novel. Bonny lives in Saskatoon.

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  • 3
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    Corvus Harold Johnson Canada
    9781771870511 Paperback FICTION / Dystopian Publication Date:October 01, 2015
    $19.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.5 in | 350 gr | 208 pages Carton Quantity:28 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      Eighty years have passed since flash floods, droughts, and tornadoes have ravaged the North American landscape and mass migrations to the north have led to decade-long wars. In the thriving city of La Ronge, George Taylor and Lenore Hanson are lawyers who rarely interact with members of the lower classes from the impoverished suburb of Regis and the independently thriving Ashram outside the city. They live in a world of personalized Platforms, self-driving cars, and cutting edge Organic Recreational Vehicles (ORVs), where gamers need never leave their virtual realities.

      Lenore befriends political dissenter and fellow war veteran Richard Warner, and George accidentally crash-lands his ORV near the mountain-sheltered haven of a First Nations community, they become exposed to new ways of thinking. As the lives of these near-strangers become intertwined, each is forced to confront the past before their relationships and lives unravel.

      Taking its title from the Latin name for the Trickster bird of First Nations, Norse, and Christian mythologies, Corvus examines the illusions of security we build through technology and presents a scathing satire of a world caught up in climate change denial and the glorification of war.

      Bio

      Harold Johnson is the author of four novels and one work of non-fiction. After a stint in the Canadian Navy, which began at the age of seventeen, Johnson became a packsack miner and logger across northern and western Canada. In 1991 he quit the mines to pursue a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Law degree from Harvard University. He now works as a Crown Prosecutor in La Ronge, Saskatchewan and lives “off the grid” with his wife Joan at the north end of Montreal Lake where they continue the traditions of trapping and commercial fishing common to Harold’s Cree background.

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  • 4
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    9781771870634 Paperback JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes Age (years) from 15 - 17 Publication Date:October 01, 2015
    $15.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.75 in | 475 gr | 288 pages Carton Quantity:36 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      Lydia Buckingham is an ice queen. She wasn’t always that way, but after her parents uprooted the family to move to an isolated and rundown farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, she has been forced to adapt this personality in order to survive in rural Saskatchewan. Despite her interest in the local history at Batoche, Lydia finds herself unable to relate to her peers at school or to her surroundings. To top it all off her parents are constantly fighting, drinking, and abandoning Lydia and her younger sister Victoria for days on end. Soon the sisters have had enough, and they decide to set out alone into the brutal Saskatchewan winter.

      Bio

      Mix Hart writes novels, the Peter-Not Pizzaface junior fiction series, picture books, and freelance articles, and is a blogger at Musings . . . by Mix Hart. Hart has lived all across Canada from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts including the Yukon as well as in the United Kingdom. She currently resides in Kelowna, British Columbia, where she and her husband are parents to three daughters and two dogs. Queen of the Godforsaken is her first young adult novel.

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  • 5
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    9781771870566 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:October 01, 2015
    $12.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.2 in | 200 gr | 64 pages Carton Quantity:152 Thistledown Press
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      Description
      Love is Not Anonymous is an exploration of the expectations and heartaches often projected onto women’s lives and their spiritual journeys. The complexities of coming of age as a woman are presented with humour and parody as Jan Wood leads us on a journey through the many realms of love from first love and infatuation to marriage, motherhood, and even extramarital temptation. Spiritual love and the challenges of faith are also examined as Wood juxtaposes the competing themes of belief and female sexuality, examining the pain and injustice to which women are subjected in the realms of both love and faith and searching for order and meaning in the two most complicated territories of human experience.

      Spirituality is at the forefront as Wood reflects on her religious background and converses directly with God in the interspersed “godtalk.com” poems. She illustrates a relationship to God that is physical and intellectual as well as transcendent, often drawing out the romantic elements of spirituality as in “/is/there/a/prayer/to/mend/this?” when she bargains with God, promising to pay [him] back/on her knees.” Elsewhere she wrestles with the challenges of faith when she confesses, “I liked you more when I thought/there was an alternate plan/with side benefits for being good.” Despite these uncertainties, however, “she cannot leave/the idea of him/alone.” Wood also explores women’s issues and the experiences of women as they battle the expectations of both innocence and inherent sinfulness projected onto them in the realms of love and faith. The biblical Eve is a recurring character as Wood reflects on the sexual repression enforced by church and society, and the dark side of a woman’s experience is explored in poems about domestic abuse (“Duplex”), prostitution (“Sometimes She’s Afraid to be Loved”), and the lethal conclusion of being female (“Invasion”).

      Feminist undertones show through in Wood’s narratives, but she refuses to be hemmed in by definitions, writing in “Mary, a Woman” that “she does not desire equality but freedom to celebrate/her differences,” vocalizing the exhaustion many women experience at “being the culprit and the icon.” She also celebrates the complexity of love and sexuality with honest portraits of teenagers sneaking out on a winter evening (“She Pretends”) and experienced lovers revealing secrets by firelight (“Salvage”). These poems are small confirmations that love signs its name on everyone who seeks it, and they reveal the difficulties women face on the journey to well-being and wholeness.

      Bio
      Jan Wood’s poetry and flash fiction have appeared many anthologies and literary journals, winning accolades in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. She won the poetry award at the Word Guild Canadian Christian Writing Awards three times and was selected Poet Laureate for Utmost Christian Writers from 2008 to 2010. She is an active member of the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild, the Ontario Poetry Society, Inscribe, and other smaller writing groups. Wood resides in Big River, Saskatchewan.
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  • 6
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    9781771870573 Paperback POETRY / General Publication Date:October 01, 2015
    $12.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.2 in | 200 gr Carton Quantity:152 Thistledown Press
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      Description
      Exile on a Grid Road is a celebration and exploration of the human experience, from youth to adulthood and illness to joy. Sadness, healing, humour, forgiveness, and joyfulness mingle as Shelley Banks creates detailed narratives of office life, failing health, and complex relationships and confronts the rootlessness and disconnection common to a contemporary experience marked by globalization and increasing mobility. In many of her poems, Banks presents the conundrum of belonging, identity, and culture. She displays an intimate knowledge of the many environments in which she has lived but also possesses an underlying disconnect due to the temporary nature of her stay in each place. Though poems such as “Moon Offering” and “Grasshopper Summer” are rich with natural imagery of the Canadian prairies, Banks’ writes, “I have no farm./I am three generations past my mother’s flight/from saddles, curry combs and dill./I am afraid of horses./I’m city-deep.” She expresses a similar separation from her youth in the Caribbean, recalling the vivid details of storms, beaches, and “curry, chutney, tangerines” yet reasserting her alienation and feelings of loss. Encounters with mortality are brought into sharp relief in later sections when Banks introduces an elderly grandmother, aging family pets, and the sudden death of a parent on his way to McDonald’s for a morning coffee. In “Kiss of Knives”, a sequence of nine poems which follows a woman battling breast cancer, Banks reveals her insight into the complexity of emotion present while dealing with illness. This complexity is especially evident in the poem “2: Wings Spread Under Glass” when a woman “so tired she can’t walk/across a grocery store” agonizes that she has become a neglectful parent even as she fights to stay alive.

      Banks’ quiet wit keeps her serious subject matter from overwhelming by presenting mundane details of working life with fresh observational humour, including describing tea that “is cold and tastes like chewing gum” and expressing envy towards an irresponsible coworker who “wears Black Cashmere,/come-fuck-me shoes.” She uses rich imagery to evoke nostalgia and to remind readers of the details we often miss during the process of daily life. By combining sharp observation, humour, and accessible verse, Exile on a Grid Road reveals the wonders to be found among the seemingly mundane details of the day to day.

      Bio
      Shelley Banks was born in a small town in the British Columbia Rockies, raised in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, and has worked and studied in Ontario, Quebec, and BC. She has been a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, and editor, and her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have been published in Grain, CV2, The Antigonish Review, and other Canadian literary magazines. Banks is also a photographer and an active blogger with a focus on prairie wildflowers and birds. She lives in Regina.
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  • 7
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    Questions for Wolf Shannon Quinn Canada
    9781771870580 Paperback POETRY / General Publication Date:October 01, 2015
    $12.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.2 in | 200 gr | 64 pages Carton Quantity:152 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      Questions for Wolf, Shannon Quinn’s debut poetry collection, explores desire and memory, examining the damaged lives of characters whose street smarts are their only defense against self-destruction and loss of hope. Quinn’s poems delve into a world of “inner city mortifications” as she contemplates lost innocence and how the longing to be great rather than merely good can drive people to pursue a life along society’s margins. From adolescent girls getting a taste of adulthood around a bonfire in “Bonfire” to the sex workers who hold their own on the dark streets of Quinn’s hazy, almost mythical universe, readers are transported through the “peculiar urban sprawl of being a girl” and presented with a celebratory defiance of the expectations projected onto women.

      Questions for Wolfis a collection of dark yet delicate poems, celebrating the myth and magic associated with female sexuality and agency. Themes of lost innocence, damaged lives, addiction, and destitution intermingle with a celebration of life outside the margins, as Quinn weaves beautiful narratives out of the ugly bits of life. Images of childlike purity combine with tragedy as the collection follows a motley gang that includes “the morphined, the moon-shined,/the induced amnesiacs and the bicycle thieves” as they stage a revolution against polite society and “pulverize the idea of being good instead of great.”

      Stark natural imagery combines with Quinn’s magic-infused metaphors as she describes liquid skies filled with stars and the simultaneously soothing and oppressive force of water as it alternates between the serene waves of a fresh hit and the sound-muffling burden placed on revolutionaries “chained to the ocean floor”. Bears, dogs, elephants, and other strange beasts including carnivorous sheep take shadowy shape throughout the collection as Quinn delves into our animal urges and confronts society’s tendency to enforce order but offer no guidance. “Where were our birders when we needed them?” she asks in “Animal Secrets”, but this probing discontent reveals fewer answers than questions.

      Despite being a collection exploring wounds and sorrows, Questions for Wolfis also fundamentally about redemption as Quinn explores the strength it takes to reclaim a shattered life. Quinn dares herself to transform grief into something beautiful, and the result is an eloquent statement about hope against all odds.

      Bio

      Shannon Quinn’s poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in literary journals in Canada, the US, and the UK including Room, subTerrain, THIS, and Maisonneuve. She has worked as a writer and producer for CBC Radio One and written for The Globe and Mail, and she currently works for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

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  • 8
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    Size of a Fist Tara Gereaux Canada
    9781771870597 Paperback JUVENILE FICTION / Girls & Women Age (years) from 16 - 18 Publication Date:October 01, 2015
    $12.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.2 in | 200 gr Carton Quantity:152 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      Living in a small working class town has never suited Addy, so after a summer working as a janitor at the local hospital, she is more than ready to move to the city. When the night before her move finally arrives, Addy’s bags are packed, she has visited all her favourite spots one last time, and she has even attempted to make amends with her single mother. Her rough-around-the-edges boyfriend Craig, however, wants to make their final night in town one to remember, so they head out to the cemetery with friends for one last party.

      At the cemetery, Addy notices a boy named Jonas hovering in the bushes. The rest of her friends think he is eavesdropping, but Addy knows the younger teen is visiting his recently deceased mother’s grave. When a game of chicken escalates and Jonas is struck by the truck Addy and her friends are driving, guilt causes Addy to feel responsible for healing the boy’s injuries and his grief, and she vows to help him escape his violent home. As their lives become further intertwined, Addy realizes her connection to Jonas is more than platonic, and she must decide whether she wants to leave for the city with Craig or follow her heart down another path.

      Size of a Fist is a dark, gritty novella about growing up in difficult circumstances where abuse and hopelessness are ever-present. The suggestion of violence hovers beneath the surface of every relationship in this harsh tale of self-preservation and personal discovery. Addy must navigate her entry into the cruel world of adulthood alone, discovering along the way the sacrifice involved in truly following her heart and taking responsibility for her actions. This gripping thriller exposes the hearts of its teenage dreamers as they attempt to outrun the law and their respective pasts.

      Bio
      Tara Gereaux is a Métis from the Qu’Appelle Valley who spent her childhood years in Fort Qu’Appelle and her teen years in Winnipeg. She studied screenwriting at York University and Creative Writing and UBC and has worked as a researcher, writer, and story editor in film and television. Gereaux’s fiction and creative non-fiction has been published in several Canadian literary magazines, and she won Event Magazine’s 14th Annual Creative Non-fiction Competition as well as several other screenwriting and non-fiction awards. Size of a Fist is her first novel. Gereaux lives in Regina.
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