First Fiction Fridays: Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist

August 23, 2013

A confident debut, Love Letters of the Angels of Death begins as Carrie and Brigs discover the remains of his mother in her mobile home. The rest of the family fall back, leaving them to reckon with the messy, unexpected death. By the time the burial is over, they understand this will always be their role: to liaise with death on behalf of people they love. They are living angels of death.

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LoveLetters

What:

Love Letters of the Angels of Death (Linda Leith Publishing, August 2013)

Who:

Jennifer Quist was nominated for the Writers Guild of Alberta’s Howard O’Hagan Award for her “Fish Story.” Her work has appeared in the Globe & Mail, National Post, Maclean’s, and Today’s Parent, and broadcast on CBC Radio’s Definitely Not The Opera and Tapestry. She lives in Lacombe, Alberta.

Why you need to read this now:

This is a novel for everyone who has ever been happily married -- and for everyone who would like to be.

A confident debut, Love Letters of the Angels of Death begins as Carrie and Brigs discover the remains of his mother in her mobile home. The rest of the family fall back, leaving them to reckon with the messy, unexpected death. By the time the burial is over, they understand this will always be their role: to liaise with death on behalf of people they love. They are living angels of death.  

All the major events in their lives – births, medical emergencies, a move to a northern boomtown – are viewed from this ambivalent angle. In this shadowy place, their lives unfold: fleeting moments, ordinary occasions, yet on the brink of otherworldliness. In spare, heart-stopping prose, the transient joys, fears, hopes and heartbreaks of love, marriage, and parenthood are revealed through the lens of the eternal.

Here’s what other novelists have to say:

"Unsentimental, mordantly funny, Love Letters of the Angels of Death is innovative, surprising, at times heart-wrenching but not despairing, and always remarkable."  

-- Kenneth Radu, author of Sex in Russia

"How does she do it? Funny, dark, deceptively ambitious. I couldn’t put it down, not only because I enjoyed it so much, but because it contained so much I had to know."  

-- Padma Viswanathan, author of The Toss of a Lemon

"This book is that rarest of literary portraits, the story of a genuinely happy marriage ... After [Jennifer Quist's] husband lost a parent, she managed her and her husband’s grief 'by tuning into his feelings and his perspective. It was a survival measure,' she says. This radical empathy is one of the book’s joys."

--Elise Moser, Montreal Review of Books




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Edited from the original post, published on the LPG blog


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