Kate Wake is a tender and deeply engaging novel from a distinctive new voice. It’s 2008. Blue Hills is a haunted place. Katie fights to reclaim her life from the grip of a profound psychological crisis, tracing back a maternal thread through a stumbled-upon and uncertain family history at the nearby, now-abandoned prairie mental asylum. As Katie seeks to rehabilitate the present by understanding the past, her fate becomes imaginativelyintertwined with that of her great-grandmother Kate Wake, an enigmatic independent-minded artist with a remarkable story of her own. In returning to a scene of loss, this elegant variation on the Eurydice-Orpheus myth reconsiders, with a fresh, unsentimental vision, the roles of trauma, madness, creativity and memory in relation to art and literary form. Sharply realized and fortified by a fierce, poetic grace, Kate Wake testifies to the timeless, urgent power of art and music with a delicately experimental, multi-genre story that unfolds its narrative mystery to reveal a shocking core.
Mariianne Mays Wiebe
is a published poet and professional editor with a lively interest in history, performance and visual art, about which she has written extensively. She lives in Winnipeg. Kate Wake is her first novel.
"Mariianne Mays Wiebe writes poetic prose that burns with a magical intensity. Her deeply empathetic imagination makes contact with so many kinds of experience at fever pitch that I would have thought were unsayable. Everything in this continually surprising novel attests to Mays Wiebe's fiercely exacting quest for truth and a leavening mercy. Precise, funny, haunting and wise, Kate Wake is a debut novel of stunning force. It also has the rare distinction of being quite unlike anything I have read before. "
— George Toles, author of A House Made of Light and Curtains of Light
"If you have an inner life, you must read this novel. It feeds the dappled self with a belief in art and an insistence on beauty. Kate Wake pries open the novel form to interweave poetry and script, all the while offering stunning commentary on history, visual art and music. "
— Christina Penner, author of Widows of Hamilton House
"Here in her debut novel, Mariianne Mays Wiebe tells the stories of these artists with grace, grit and astonishing honesty. Poetic, impressionistic, pushing the boundaries of conventional narrative, Kate Wake explores love, betrayal, ambition and searing loss as it gathers together and gently untangles the threads of two lives that are generations apart, yet intimately connected. "
— Catherine Hunter, author of After Light and Lunar Wake
"A beautifully written, complex weaving of history, vividly imagined and rendered with fine, delicately powerful urgency. "
— Margaret Sweatman, author of When Alice Lay Down with Peter and Fox