Review and Giveaway
Mister Sandman by Barbara Gowdy
Fiction, Paperback,268 pgs.
I was surprised to see this as an Early Reviewer book on LibraryThing recently because I knew it had been published in 1995. I also knew it was one of Nancy Pearl's Booklust 'must reads'. This is a re-issue, now with an introduction by Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love. Barbara Gowdy is a consisently good writer and here again we find strong characterization, this time with dark humour and frank sexuality. The Canary family are unconventional to say the least. Gordon and Doris Canary are emotionally dishonest with themselves as well as others. Their habit of lies and wildly exaggerated histories spills over into the lives of their daughters, Sonja and Marcy. We laugh at some of the ridiculous things they say but with a tinge of sadness because they resort to such self-deceptions to get through life. Gowdy's characters seem almost preposterous, although she is non-judgemental and compassionate towards them and we come to understand them better once we get to know them. The story takes place from the 1950's to the 1970's, during which a third child is born into their midst. A mute but musically gifted and insightful creature, little Joan becomes the unwitting keeper of all the family secrets and ultimately its saving grace. We do care about the characters after all because they protect and care for each other. But I found the sexual bits disturbing. I've heard Mister Sandman compared to both Geek Love and Arrested Development but I have read neither so you will have to judge for yourselves.
Thank you to LibraryThing for the reviewer's copy.
This week's Giveaway is my copy of Mister Sandman by Barbara Gowdy. This not an ARC but the real thing, gently read. It also contains a reader's guide.
Open worldwide until midnight Sunday, September 28, 2008.
1) To enter tell us about any book by a Nobel Prize winning author that you've enjoyed. If you haven't read any yet, which one would you like to read? This link will give you a complete list of Nobel authors: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/List+of+Nobel+laureates+in+Literature
Clicking on any name will give you a list of their books.
2) If you blog about this giveaway and put a link back to it, I'll give you a second entry. If you don't have a blog, email 3 friends telling them about this giveaway and copying me at sfuhringer(at)sympatico(dot)ca.
Please leave a contact address if you're entering the giveaway and don't have a blog where I can contact you.
Winner will be announced on Monday, September 29, 2008.
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