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    9780771012907 Electronic book text, Reflowable, , EPUB 9780771012914 Downloadable audio file, $24.95 CAD 9780771096563 Downloadable audio file
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    Distributor: Random House, Inc. Availability: On Sale Date:Jun 01, 2021 Carton Quantity:24 $24.95 CAD
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Astra
A Novel
By (author): Cedar Bowers
9780771012891 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Women Jun 01, 2021
$24.95 CAD
Forthcoming 5.38 x 8.25 in | 0.7 lb 304 pages McClelland & Stewart
If you could see yourself as others saw you, would you be any closer to the truth of who you really are? In the tradition of Olive Kitteridge and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, Astra is a beguiling debut novel that reveals the different faces of one enigmatic woman, as seen through the eyes of ten people she encounters over the course of six decades.

Raised on a remote BC commune by a neglectful father, Astra Brine eventually leaves for Calgary, where she struggles to find her way in the world, her life becoming a study of the thin line between dependence and love, need and desire. As her path intersects with others—often only briefly, but always intensely—she will encounter people who, by turns, want to rescue, control, become, change, and escape her, revealing difficult yet shining truths about who they are and what they yearn for. There is the childhood playmate who comes to fear Astra’s unpredictable ways; the stranger who rescues her from homelessness and then has to wrestle with his own demons; the mother who hires Astra as a nanny even as her own marriage goes off the rails; the man who takes a leap of faith and marries her.

Even as Astra herself remains the elusive yet compelling axis around which these narratives turn, her story reminds us of the profound impact that an individual can have on those around her, and the power struggles at play in all our relationships, no matter how intimate. A beautifully constructed and revelatory novel, Astra explores what we’re willing to give and receive from others, and how well we ever really know the people we love the most.

AUDIENCE: For readers of Rachel Cusk, Lauren Groff, Elizabeth Strout, Jane Urquhart, My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, How Should a Person Be? and Motherhood by Sheila Heti, So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum, Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey. For fans of the TV show Girls.

A BRILLIANT MEDITATION ON HOW WE VIEW GIRLS AND WOMEN: In showing us how differently a wide range of people can each view the same woman during the different stages of her life—as a daughter, a potential girlfriend, a single mother, a wife—we get a revealing cross-section glimpse of how society as a whole views women. The novel follows Astra from the day of her birth to the age of 59, which is when we get a chapter from her point of view.

DECAHEDRON: A key motif in the book is how Astra uses a ten-sided dice (a decahedron) to make certain decisions in her life, which might make for more some interesting design and promotional possibilities.

A MEMBER OF THE BOOKSELLING COMMUNITY: In addition to being an incredibly talented writer, Cedar is also a bookseller at Galiano Island Books and an active member of the Galiano Island Literary Festival community.

CEDAR BOWERS’s fiction has been published in Joyland and Taddle Creek. Astra is her first novel. With her husband, novelist Michael Christie, and their two children, she divides her time between Galiano Island, where she grew up, and Victoria.

Author Residence: Victoria, BC

Author Hometown: Galiano Island, BC

“Cedar Bowers’s debut took my breath away. In Astra, Bowers dares to contend with the many selves we all contain—those we conceal, those we perform, those we try to outrun in our search for love, belonging, and home. She holds the human heart like a diamond to the light, exposing its every fault, its every dream, its every pain that both damns and anoints. Bowers writes with the unsentimental clarity and aching wisdom of a young Alice Munro. A fiercely beautiful novel. I could not put it down.” —Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker and Stunt 

“Every once in a while, that book comes along—the one that holds you spellbound with its eloquent prose and fascinating characters, the one you can’t wait to get back to each night. Astra is that book. This is storytelling at its best and writing at its finest.” —Cea Sunrise Person, author of North of Normal and Nearly Normal 

“Cedar Bowers has assembled, through glimpses and ellipses, a powerful, complex portrait of a fascinating woman and the lives that orbit and collide with hers. Astra is an engrossing, unique book, and a thoughtful exploration of how hard it is to truly know someone.” —Rebecca Rosenblum, author of So Much Love

Astra is a gift. A story possessing boundless empathy for human eccentricities and delivered with a stylistic and emotional precision that goes straight to the reader’s heart.” —Carleigh Baker, author of Bad Endings

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