Canada's colourful past is within reach when Nelson author Anne DeGrace reads from her fourth novel, Flying with Amelia, April 11 in Sechelt at the Rockwood Lodge at 1 p.m. and at the Gibsons and District Public Library on April 12 at 1 p.m. The book takes the reader across a country and across a century, with some poignant stops along the way.
The title story, set in 1936, chronicles a correspondence between a Nova Scotia secretary and a Saskatchewan school teacher during the Great Depression, with the adventurous courage of the doomed Amelia Earhart a metaphor for hope.
The story begins as two families of Irish immigrants arrive and then scatter. From there, Flying with Amelia weaves the identity of a young Canada from 1901 to 1999 and from St. John's, Nfld. to B.C. and north to the Beaufort Sea. The breadth and scope of the novel demanded authenticity, a challenge DeGrace found both daunting and exciting.
"I love Canadian history, and I'm fascinated with how the events in the history books affected regular folks, just living their lives," DeGrace said. "I set out to cover a lot of territory, and to offer different personal views through the window of history."
To create a narrative that linked characters and events across a great distance in both space and time, DeGrace had to get creative.
"The book is part intergenerational tale, part six-degrees-of-separation, with small-world moments throughout," she said.
Two of DeGrace's novels, Treading Water and Sounding Line, were chosen as Chapters/Indigo Heather's Picks. Her second novel, Wind Tails, was shortlisted for Ontario's Evergreen Award. More information is available at www.annedegrace.ca.
DeGrace appears on the Coast with support from the Canada Council for the Arts through the Writers Union of Canada.
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