First Fiction Fridays: The Weather Inside

November 11, 2016

Emily Saso's debut novel  The Weather Inside (Freehand Books) is deliciously surreal: a young, recently married woman witnesses ice and snow – both when outside and inside her tiny Toronto apartment – when everyone else complains of the heat. Learn more about this novel that Bradley Somer calls "gritty and gorgeous, with an underlying raw humour that you almost feel guilt laughing at."

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What:

The Weather Inside (Freehand Books, 2016)

Who:

Emily Saso (say-so) writes fiction and screenplays. Some of her favourite writers are Douglas Adams, Jeffrey Eugenides, David Foster Wallace, Aimee Bender, Kurt Vonnegut and J.K. Rowling, and she loves television as much as she loves books. Emily got her MA in international security studies from York University—a degree that comes in handy when she watches Homeland. She briefly tried to be a stand-up comic, but found it way too scary. Emily lives in Toronto, is a dog person, loves the smell of underground parking lots, and tweets from @EmilySaso1. The Weather Inside is her first novel.

Why you need to read this now:

Avery is a normal-ish twentysomething. She works out of the tiny shoebox apartment in Toronto she shares with her new husband, Henry, and she loves to binge-watch Battlestar Galactica. So when, one day, she watches as her apartment floor turns to ice, she knows that’s impossible. Right? Isn’t it?

But then Avery starts seeing snow everywhere she goes. Swirling all through the streets, even though it’s July. The guy on The Weather Network doesn’t mention a word about it, and in fact starts talking about heat waves, which is odd even though he is the worst weatherman in the world. And then it starts to snow indoors, too.

At the same time, Henry announces that he is rejoining the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Avery’s long-estranged mother shows up on her doorstep, and Avery’s uncle starts incessantly calling from prison, demanding her forgiveness for things that Avery has devoted every ounce of energy to trying to forget. It’s time for Avery to confront her demons, with the help of her mysterious superintendent and the worst weatherman in the world – hopefully before it’s too late.

The Weather Inside is a twisted, darkly funny, and redemptive tale. It takes on abuse and fundamentalism and grief and recovery, all the while with incredible wit and humour. Saso also manages a loveably quirky cast of characters, including hilariously perfect details like a neighbour who won Canadian Idol (“the fear in his eyes when he won”) and the (accidental?) theft of a beloved Canadian national treasure.

Bradley Somer, author of Fishbowl, says, “By turns gritty and gorgeous, with an underlying raw humour that you almost feel guilt laughing at, the prose herein is constantly compelling and always confronting. Saso has written a challenging relevance in the form of a novel.”

While she wrote The Weather Inside, Emily Saso kept up a brutally honest blog (egoburn.blogspot.ca) about the ups and downs (and downs) of writing: the challenges of finishing a book and rewriting it, the triumph of finally landing an agent, the disappointment of breaking up with that agent, the painful rejections that kept piling up, and the self-doubt that ensued… and then, happily, its eventual acceptance for publication! In fact, publisher Freehand Books actually found Emily’s book because of her blog. A friend of Freehand’s submissions coordinator told her, “Hey, you should check out this blog…” and Freehand did and ended up getting in touch with Emily. The rest is history.

X plus Y:

It’s like the behind-the-curtains glimpse into the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses of Jennifer LoveGrove’s Watch How We Walk mixed with the surrealist bent of Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.

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Thanks so much to Kelsey at Freehand for sharing The Weather Inside, as both a warning for the coming snow and a salve for our own snowy insides these days. For more great debut fiction, click here.


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