For the month of April we are delighted to welcome author Cordelia Strube to lead our Book Club! She invites us to read Kate Caley’s How You Were Born. Here is why she chose this book.
I hadn’t read Kate Caley’s work before pulling How You Were Born from a box, one of ten or so boxes delivered to me as a juror for the Trillium Book Award. Jury duty in the literary world expands the margins of writers’ minds because we are forced to read books that we might not otherwise have noticed, not because the books aren’t good but because we haven’t heard about them. An independent publisher as outstanding as Pedlar Press does not have a publicity punch equal to that of corporate-powered Random House. Jurors are given the opportunity to see beyond the packaging and promo and assess books from all publishers, large and small, that meet the award’s submission guidelines.
Testing the pulse of each literary work, we diligently wend our way through the big name authors, best sellers and award winners as well as the emerging or lesser known ones. Occasionally we are gobsmacked by a book so masterful that we write it down immediately in felt marker, alongside the penciled titles. Kate Caley’s collection How You Were Born was such a marvel for me. Two years later, her stories Boys and The Fetch continue to linger in my imagination. Her skill as a playwright is richly evident in her use of dialogue. Characters are revealed through behaviours and their use of settings, enabling us to learn about Caley’s worlds as her characters move through them. Her use of specific, animate detail never slows the narrative and eases us into the complexity of the human condition. With grace and pathos, Caley teases out unexpected insights, connections, dark secrets and moments of transcendence.
How You Were Born well deserved the Trillium Book Award.
Cordelia Strube is an accomplished playwright and the author of nine critically acclaimed novels, including Alex & Zee, Teaching Pigs to Sing, and Lemon. Winner of the CBC literary competition and a Toronto Arts Foundation Award, she has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Award, the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. A two-time finalist for ACTRA’s Nellie Award celebrating excellence in Canadian broadcasting, she is also a three-time nominee for the ReLit Award. Her latest work On The Shores Of Darkness, There Is Light won the City of Toronto Book Award.