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LPG Catalogue: Fall 2015

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Faerie
By (author): Eisha Marjara
9781551526188 Paperback, Trade English General Trade JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / Asian American Nov 13, 2015
$14.95 CAD
Active 5.5 x 8 x 0.62 in 152 pages Arsenal Pulp Press

A bold YA novel about a South Asian teenager struggling with anorexia.

Just days before her eighteenth birthday, Lila has resolved to end her life. The horror of becoming an adult, and leaving her childhood behind, has broken her heart.

Faerie, a novel for young people, is the fierce yet gently unfolding story of a hyper- imaginative girl who is on a collision course to womanhood. She likens herself to a half-human fairy creature who does not belong in the earthly world; but in the cold light of day she is a psychiatric patient at a hospital, where she is being treated for anorexia--her sickness driven by the irrational need to undo nature and thwart the passage of time.

Lila tells the story of how she ended up on the Four East wing: we flashback to her childhood in the '80s, growing up in a small town as an overweight brown kid of Punjabi immigrant parents: her father, a literary scholar whom she idolizes, and her mother, a housewife--"the most female of all females who found comfort in cooking." Faerie weaves these passages with Lila's downward spiral into life-threatening illness, her budding sexuality, and her complicated recovery in hospital that comes with a price. Written with candour and heartbreaking lyricism, Faerie is a plaintive love letter to the bold, flawed splendour that is childhood.

My mother saw herself in me, but I wanted to hold up a very different mirror. I was going to slim myself into my wings and take a leap of faith into the faerie world where I spent every waking daydream. The circumstances were ripe, summer was on its way, and no time like yesterday to start something new. Or shall I say, to recover something old.

Eisha Marjara has written and directed several award-winning films, including the critically acclaimed NFB docudrama Desperately Seeking Helen, the witty and satirical The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and the German-Canadian film The Tourist. Her latest, House for Sale, has won numerous film festival awards. Faerie is her first novel. She lives in Montreal.

The author does a good job of portraying anorexia as a serious psychiatric illness, and she convincingly puts readers inside Lila's head without glamourizing the illness. This is a key point as many novels on anorexia end up being used as guide books on pro-ana blogs and websites. While Marjara does show in detail the various tricks Lila uses to hide her food and burn off calories, it's done in a skilfully distasteful way. -CM Magazine - CM Magazine

Faerie is intensely intimate, containing details that will ring resoundingly true for anyone who has ever suffered with an eating disorder. The strange combination of self-hatred that fuels extreme weight loss and pride that comes from the sensation of feeling nothing but hard bone under the skin is achingly true-to-life, but not glorified. -Quill and Quire - Quill and Quire

Marjara delivers a provocative and traumatic rendering of a young woman's battle with her own body ... There's an authentic feel to the writing; Lila's rage, her lived horror, is palpable. -Vancouver Sun - Vancouver Sun

Among the novel's many accomplishments, besides being a compelling one-sitting read, is the insight it provides for non-sufferers into aspects of the anorexic's thought process. Lila's quest for power and autonomy through self-erasure may appear bafflingly extreme, but it does possess its own logic. -Montreal Gazette - Montreal Gazette

This is another teen book about anorexia, but it is powerfully different and unabashedly more realistic than most. -The Globe and Mail - The Globe and Mail

This important account provides a mirror where as yet there is none. -Kirkus Reviews - Kirkus Reviews

Marjara, writing in Lila's affecting voice, delicately captures the deep insecurities of teenhood, the pressure of trying to fit into one ideal of beauty, and the complexity of anorexia with lovely, flowing prose, underscoring the devastating effects that mental illness can have an an entire family.
-Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW) - Publishers Weekly

My hope for this book is that it gets into the hands of young readers who are struggling with these same issues. Lila is so honest that I feel many people will be able to relate to her and hopefully come to some of the same lessons that she does about her own illness and embark on the same path to healing. -Prism international - Prism international

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