First Fiction Fridays: The Umbrella Mender

September 19, 2014

With sharply drawn characters and impeccable prose, The Umbrella Mender draws readers into the past, the isolated north and the lives of those who lived there. It’s a story that lingers long after the book is closed.

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What:

The Umbrella Mender (Wolsak & Wynn, 2014)

Who:

Christine Fischer Guy is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, and Reader’s Digest, among others. Her fiction, including excerpts from this debut novel, has appeared in Descant, Prairie Fire, Grimm, and Ars Medica. She won silver at the National Magazine Awards for her profile of a Métis blogger, and her fiction has been nominated for the Journey Prize. She currently lives in Toronto, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto’s School for Continuing Studies.

Why You Need to Read This Now:

Hazel MacPherson is confined to a hospital bed, rendered mute by a stroke. Her grandniece, Jude, has come to visit her. As she contemplates a future in which “much is undecided,” Hazel must come to terms with her past – a harrowing tale she attempts to share with Jude.

As a young nurse in the 1950s, Hazel traveled to isolated Moose Factory, where she helped fight the tuberculosis epidemic ravaging the native population. There she met mysterious drifter Gideon Judge, the titular umbrella mender. With linguistic and cultural barriers hampering her and her colleagues’ efforts to treat the steady stream of indigenous patients, Hazel found Gideon a welcome distraction from the tension. What followed was an affair whose consequences are still rippling through Hazel’s life even as she lies in the hospital bed recounting her story.

With sharply drawn characters and impeccable prose, The Umbrella Mender draws readers into the past, the isolated north and the lives of those who lived there. It’s a story that lingers long after the book is closed.

What Others Are Saying:

The Umbrella Mender is a gorgeous book – a moving meditation on human frailty, a sensitive portrait of conflicting cultures brought together in an uneasy truce, and a heartbreaking tale of unsanctioned love.” – Alissa York

“Wonderfully, carefully written, this is a book you will not soon forget.” – Russell Wangersky

“The evocative setting..., a passionate and clandestine love affair, and the irresistible voice of intrepid nurse Hazel MacPherson join forces to make The Umbrella Mender an absolutely compelling read from start to finish.” – Miriam Toews

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Thank you to Wolsak & Wynn for sharing this exceptional book with us


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