By Arleen Paré
In Leaving Now Arleen Paré, winner of the 2008 Victoria Book Prize, weaves fable, prose and poetics to create a rich mosaic of conflicted motherhood. Set in the volatile 1970s and '80s, when social norms and expectations were changing rapidly, Leaving Now is the emotionally ... Read more
In Leaving Now Arleen Paré, winner of the 2008 Victoria Book Prize, weaves fable, prose and poetics to create a rich mosaic of conflicted motherhood. Set in the volatile 1970s and '80s, when social norms and expectations were changing rapidly, Leaving Now is the emotionally candid story of a mother's anguish as she leaves her husband to love a woman. In this second book, Paré masterfully blends aspects of her personal journey with her own version of a well-loved fairy tale. Gudru, the five-hundred-year-old mother of Hansel and Gretel, appears hazily in the narrator's kitchen—presumed dead, all but written out of her own tale, but very much alive. Gudrun spins a yarn of love, loss and leaving, offering comfort and wisdom to the conflicted young mother. Raising children is not for the faint of heart; all parents know the anguish of parting from a child, even if for the briefest moment. Leaving Now is for mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. It is for anyone who has ever lived in a family.
Arleen Paré is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Paper Trail (NeWest Press, 2007), Lake of Two Mountains (Brick Books, 2014), He Leaves His Face in the Funeral Car (Caitlin Press, 2015), and First (Brick Books, 2021). Her work has been short-listed for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and has won the American Golden Crown Award for Poetry, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize, a CBC Bookie Award, and a Governor Generals’ Award for Poetry. She lives in Victoria, BC, with her wife, Chris.
Paré is a past winner of the Victoria Butler Book Prize, and it is easy to see why. She moves seamlessly between poetry and prose in the pages of Leaving Now, writing with an obvious respect for language. By making the choice to incorporate as much poetry into the novel as she does, Paré limits the actual number of words that makes up her story. There is a significant amount of white space in an already slim book, so it is especially important that the right words are in the right spaces. It’s a job Paré has done very well.
— Colin Holt