In the opening chapter of The Figgs, retired married couple June and Randy’s plans to move into the next phase of their life are interrupted – abruptly – by their youngest son’s announcement that he’s about to be a father. In Jennifer Quist’s Love Letters of the Angels of Death, it’s not new life but death with which married couple Carrie and Brigs have to contend; the finding of Brigs’ mother’s corpse in her mobile home. While their circumstances and ages are so different, Carrie and Brigs equal June and Randy through their unwavering, mutual support for their spouses in the most difficult times.
If you’re looking to continue exploring the fraught love and decisions that sometimes come with adoption...
While June Figg yearns for the empty nest that Lynn Howard gets in Betty Jane Hegerat’s Delivery, both women end up contending with their early-twenties child (Derek for June, Heather for Lynn) unexpectedly showing up with a baby. Lynn deals with Heather’s waffling on putting the baby up for adoption – ultimately being tasked with bringing the baby to the adoptive parents – while June’s own identity as an adopted child is shaken as she wonders how it all could have been different.
If the (sometimes explosive) “chemistry” between the Figg adult siblings was something you’re telling Mom about…
If the loaded, hilarious interactions between the adult children Figgs Tom, Vanessa, and Derek were your favourite part of the book, follow The Figgs with its serious counterpart, Sina Queyras’ Autobiography of Childhood. Her grown Combal children reckon with the impending death of one of their own and all of the injustices – petty and otherwise – that they incurred in their childhoods. If Ali Bryan's Figgs could be at home in the quirkiness of a Wes Anderson movie, Queyras’ Combals are fit for the ache that hides behind Sofia Coppola’s work.
If the Figgs and their friends’ universe of quirk and hilarity is what’ll bring you back to the next Bryan novel, and the next, and the next…
Author of Leacock Medal Award-winning novel Dance Gladys, Dance Cassie Stocks is a big fan of The Figgs, calling it “modern mayhem at its finest.” And no wonder: her own novel is full of the love-filled mayhem readers come to know, through the chosen family of main character Freida Zweig. We love how the characters in each novel are in a bit of a slump to start, but all rally for each other when the chips – the impending closure of a local community centre or an unexpected baby – are down, and through that mutual support, end up building strength for themselves.
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