Freehand Books Fall 2015 Trade

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  • 1
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    Afterlife of Birds Elizabeth Philips Canada
    9781554812653 Paperback FICTION / Literary Publication Date: September 15, 2015
    $21.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.56 in | 320 pages Carton Quantity: 36 Canadian Rights: Y Freehand Books
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      A gorgeous, deeply felt debut novel about obsession, loneliness, and the surprising ways we find to connect with each other.

      Henry Jett’s life is slowly going nowhere. His girlfriend recently left, and his job in a local garage is uninspiring, considering that he doesn’t particularly like cars. Henry finds solace in his eccentric passion, rebuilding the skeletons of birds and animals. Meanwhile Henry’s brother, Dan, is disappearing into an obsession of his own.

      Without Dan to rely on, Henry begins to engage in new ways with the people around him in his Prairie city: the 80-year-old Russian émigré who delights in telling stories; the very pregnant former employee of his mother’s; the lawyer who may or may not be his brother’s ex-girlfriend. Gradually they demand that Henry become a participant in his own story, and Henry must forge his own way of living in the world.

      In The Afterlife of Birds, award-winning poet Elizabeth Philips draws together unforgettable characters who subtly, powerfully demonstrate the beauty of ordinary lives and finding our place in the world.


      Elizabeth Philips has been writing professionally for thirty-five years and is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Torch River (Brick Books). She has won a National Magazine Award, an Alberta Magazine Award, and two Saskatchewan Book Awards. She has edited over forty books of poetry and fiction and has been the Director of the Banff Centre’s Writing with Style program since 2010. She lives in Saskatoon with her partner and two Cairn Terriers. The Afterlife of Birds is her first novel.

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards First Novel Award 2016, Short-listed
      Saskatchewan Fiction Award 2016, Short-listed
      Saskatoon Book Award 2016, Winner

      "Philips' novel is a gift, her prose flawless, her characters endlessly engaging; the book itself offering us a new voice in fiction, one we should listen to with all our hearts." -- Patrick Lane, author of Red Dog, Red Dog

      "Liz Philips has accomplished the most difficult thing in literature. She has written an original love story." -- Fred Stenson, author of Who By Fire

      "Like its central character Henry Jett, The Afterlife of Birds is an original: alert to nature, clear-eyed and true. A lovely novel--it returned me to the world refreshed." -- Joan Thomas, author ofThe Opening Sky

      "The people around us are weird and [The Afterlife of Birds] celebrates the glory of that... the glory and complexity of people." -- Angie Abdou, on CBC Radio's Daybreak Alberta

  • 2
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    Swallows Uncaged A Narrative in Eight Panels Elizabeth McLean Canada
    9781554812646 Paperback FICTION / Short Stories Publication Date: September 15, 2015
    $21.95 CAD 6 x 9 x 0.56 in | 320 pages Carton Quantity: 18 Canadian Rights: Y Freehand Books
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      Ambitious, emotionally resonant stories about the lives of women and girls in Vietnam over the past thousand years.

      In The Swallows Uncaged, Elizabeth McLean paints a sweeping yet intimate panorama of Vietnam in the style of a Vietnamese eight-panel screen: eight narratives that each capture a moment in time and yet speak to one another. Interweaving historical and fictional characters over ten centuries, the stories portray the passions and turmoils of successive generations of the Nguyen clan’s wives and daughters, and of their men.

      When the men go away, to war or to advance their fortune, the women stay behind (not always idly or chastely). They dutifully pass down their ancestors’ traditions to their daughters and granddaughters, but also recast the iron rules to gratify their ambitions and desires. At their humble posts by the hearth, they defy authority, scheme to improve their lot, and love zestfully and wickedly.

      Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted, these stories form a triumphant debut from an author with a superb gift for storytelling.


      Elizabeth McLean immigrated to Canada from Warsaw, Poland, in the 1960s. She worked for several years as a CBC radio producer, a researcher for TIME Canada, and a government policy writer. In 2005, she moved to Hanoi, Vietnam, where she spent six years immersed in and researching Vietnamese culture. A debut author at age 73, Elizabeth now lives in Vancouver.

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Alcuin Award for Excellence in Book Design (Fiction) 2016, Commended
      Winner of the Impress Award for New Writers

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