When Fenelon Falls

By Dorothy Ellen Palmer

When Fenelon Falls
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A spaceship hurtles towards the moon, hippies gather at Woodstock, Charles Manson leads a cult into murder and a Kennedy drives off a Chappaquiddick dock: it's the summer of 1969. And as mankind takes its giant leap, Jordan May March, disabled bastard and genius, age fourteen, ... Read more


Overview

A spaceship hurtles towards the moon, hippies gather at Woodstock, Charles Manson leads a cult into murder and a Kennedy drives off a Chappaquiddick dock: it's the summer of 1969. And as mankind takes its giant leap, Jordan May March, disabled bastard and genius, age fourteen, limps and schemes her way towards adulthood. Trapped at the March family's cottage, she spends her days memorizing Top 40 lists, avoiding her adoptive cousins, catching frogs and plotting to save Yogi, the bullied, buttertart-eating bear caged at the top of March Road. In her diary, reworking the scant facts of her adoption, Jordan visions and revisions a hundred different scenarios for her conception on that night in 1954 when Hurricane Hazel tore Toronto to shreds, imagining her conception at the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital or the CNE horse palace, and such parents as JFK, Louisa May Alcott, Perry Mason and the Queen of England.

Dorothy Ellen Palmer

Like Jordan in When Fenelon Falls, Dorothy Palmer was likely conceived during Hurricane Hazel and adopted at age three. She grew up in and near Toronto and spent childhood summers in Ontario's cottage country, just north of Fenelon Falls, where there really was a caged bear. In her twenty-three years as a drama/English teacher, Dorothy taught in a Mennonite colony, a four-room schoolhouse in rural Alberta, and an adult learning centreattached toa prison. She coaches for the Canadian Improv Games. When Fenelon Falls is her first novel.

Reviews

‘The meta-fictional aspect of the novel provides a generous extra layer of storytelling that is both funny and wise. The writing is strong and complex and the subject matter, unique, important and emotionally moving.’ – Lisa Moore, author of February

‘The story is full of humour, surprises and a refreshingly unsentimental depiction of family relations. A bold and challenging undercurrent of darkness drives the plot forward ... Palmer is a talented writer with an original voice and a marvellous ear for the nuance (and fun) of language.’ – Quill and Quire

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