Three years into the second millennium, Majestic, Alberta is a farm town dealing with depressed crop prices, international borders closing to Canadian beef, and a severe drought. Older farmers worry about their way of life changing while young people concoct ways to escape: drugs, partying, moving away. Even the church is on the brink of closing.
When local woman Annie Gallagher is struck by lightning while divining water for a well, stories of the town's past, including that of Annie and the grandmother who taught her water witching, slowly pour forth as everyone gathers for her funeral.
Told through the varied voices of the townspeople and Annie herself, The Death of Annie the Water Witcher by Lightning reveals Majestic to be a complex character in its own right, both haunted and haunting. Here, Audrey J. Whitson has written a novel of hard choices and magical necessity.
Audrey J. Whitson's first book, Teaching Places (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2003), a memoir about how the land teaches, was shortlisted for the Wilfred Eggleston Award, Grant MacEwan Author Award and ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year (body/mind/spirit category). Stories from The Glorious Mysteries (Thistledown, 2013) -- a collection set in Alberta, California, and Mexico -- were shortlisted for the Howard O'Hagan Award and long¬listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Her poetry and essays have been published in many magazines and anthologies and have also won awards. Audrey lives in Edmonton. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreywhitson.com.
Praise for The Death of Annie the Water Witcher by Lightning:
"Majestic is depicted with poetic complexity. Annie's friends have a salt-of-the-earth goodness, and Annie herself is a faceted, compelling woman who emerges from personal darkness to find her own peace."
~ Meg Nola, Foreword Reviews
"Whitson's novel is, by the end, a reckoning with the past, both personal and communal, but also a tale of joy--the earthy preparations for the dead and a diving born of the body."
Bryn Evans, Alberta Views
"It's tricky business, allowing so many voices to create the narrative in a story, but Audrey Whitson has linked these people together not only as people who loved Annie, but as community. Relationships with Annie emerge, and so too do the intimate details of the lives of her neighbours."
~ Betty Jane Hegerat, author of The Boy and Delivery
"[a] stunningly written novel...."
~ All Lit Up
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