The Incomparables is the debut novel from the Trillium nominated author of Animal. Lydia Templar is obsessed with fabric, the texture and weight of cloth. Through fabrics, curtains, costumes, she expresses herself in a way she feels incapable of doing in words. For the past ten years she’s apprenticed in the wardrobe department of a small Shakespearean theatre company and has finally been given the opportunity to showcase her designs. When she discovers her husband is having an affair with his leading lady, she seeks revenge the only way she knows how: she weaves her panic, pain, and paranoia into the costumes. It costs her the job. She swears she’ll never sew again, packs her things, and returns to her mother and the sprawling country estate she left years ago. Lydia discovers that her mother has turned part of the large family home into a bed and breakfast.
When a group of counsellors from the city book the family’s B&B for the summer to prepare for a special wedding ceremony, Lydia’s plans to never thread a needle again are challenged. Through the one thing she cannot live without, the counsellors lure Lydia into a role she did not see coming—her self.
The Incomparablesis a novel about ambition, betrayal, “failure,” love, family dynamics, how we deal with societal, family, and personal expectations, and how we come to accept who we are.
Praise for The Incomparables:
"... With this novel, [Leggat] takes creativity to a new extreme, while examining heavy themes such as family ties, one's true self and coping with loss. ... The plot unfolds neatly, taking the reader between present-day Lydia, recovering from her trauma, and Lydia's memories of her experiences in the city. Leggat weaves in plenty of plot twists along the way. ... The true strength of the novel is lies in the depth that Leggat brings to Lydia and certain other secondary characters with relatively few words and very little description—she would make Hemingway proud. ... Leggat effortlessly and subtly works in many Shakespearean, Freudian, Grecian and Eastern Mystic references and motifs. Readers will suspect that this is one of those novels that must be read more than once to pick up on all the metaphors and references. ..." (The Winnipeg Free Press)
"This is a dense novel that should not be read quickly. Leggat’s attention to detail—particularly tactile detail—is extraordinary, and some sections leap out and come to life only on careful reading … As difficult as it is, the interesting writing and odd plot make The Incomparables a worthy read—if you’re willing to give it your full attention." (4/5) (The Other Press)
Praise for Animal by Alexandra Leggat:
"I'm tempted to say it's a slim, distilled masterpiece." (Michael Bryson, Underground Book Club)
Alexandra Leggat is the author of This is me since yesterday (Coach House, 2000) and the short fiction collection, Pull Gently, Tear Here (Insomniac, 2001), which was nominated for the Danuta Gleed First Fiction Award. Her poetry, fiction and articles have been published in magazines across Canada and in the U.S. Her latest book is Meet Me in the Parking Lot (Insomniac, 2004). Alexandra Leggat is the author of This is me since yesterday (Coach House, 2000) and the short fiction collection, Pull Gently, Tear Here (Insomniac, 2001), which was nominated for the Danuta Gleed First Fiction Award. Her poetry, fiction and articles have been published in magazines across Canada and in the U.S. Her latest book is Meet Me in the Parking Lot (Insomniac, 2004).