The Taste of Ashes
This is a story of redemption and the resilience of the human spirit. Isabel Lee’s early life in rural B.C. was forever changed by a brief but powerful love affair with a young Oblate priest. Now a recovering alcoholic, Isabel struggles to pull the tattered fragments of her life together. Once idealistic and hopeful, Father Àlvaro Ruiz now has his own demons to confront. Brutally tortured at the hands of the Guatemalan authorities, Àlvaro returns to Canada seeking sanctuary, a broken man with a tenuous grip on his faith in God and humanity. Isabel’s and Àlvaro’s stories slowly weave together in this story of how we find grace in the most unexpected places.
Tending the Remnant Damage
Sheila Peters makes her impressive fiction debut with a collection of loosely linked stories whose characters, whether they live in the Queen Charlotte Islands or the Prairies, are ordinary men and women who have seemingly everyday experiences that glimmer with the extraordinary. Her spare, stripped-down prose, leavened with sly humour and a gift for poetic resonance, reminds one of the work of Alice Munro or Sandra Birdsell.
Peters creates people who often feel out of sync with the spiritual, emotional, and physical environments they find themselves in. Two old people on a farm try to comprehend the inevitable fate befalling them, all the while contemplating the strange goings-on of neighbours. A young woman on the lam from Texas finds herself beached in the Queen Charlottes on her way to Alaska. A punked-up Vancouver girl accompanies a crusty grandmother on a tense hunting trek in the drizzly woods. Their universe is our universe, but with a twist that makes it refreshingly new and decidedly different.