Friday, March 27, 2009

New This Month: Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

If you were to somehow meld the stylish dysfunctional humor of Lisa Lutz and the arms akimbo stylings of Miriam Toews, it would likely look something like Jessica Grant’s debut novel, Come, Thou Tortoise (Knopf Canada). When I say this, keep in mind that -- as different as they are -- I love the work of both Lutz and Toews. I love Come, Thou Tortoise, as well. And the three are not at all alike. But they are, in a way, equally quirky, equally funny and equally deep, and in a darkly sneaky way.

As Come, Thou Tortoise opens, Audrey Flowers is boarding a plane. She’s deathly afraid of flying (“I remain vigilant and concentrate on having a future. On a plane if you don’t concentrate on having a future, you won’t have one.”) but she must leave Oregon and return to Newfoundland because her father is in a coma. She’s been forced to leave her pet, Winnifred (mentioned in the title), in not very dependable hands. But she must return to the Maritimes to discover who her father actually is.

Grant uses lists, diagrams and a charming, staccato voice to tell Audrey’s story. One suspects a deeply serious skill -- and perhaps a talent deeper still -- beneath Audrey’s naive and weirdly charming voice.



Blogger Rattling Books said...

For anyone interested in hearing Jessica Grant, she recorded her story The Princification Process with Rattling Books as part of our new EarLit Shorts series. Her story is available either as part of EarLit Shorts 3 or by itself as a "single" digital download.

Friday, March 27, 2009 4:52:00 AM PDT  

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