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Annabel by Kathleen Winter

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Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011.

Haunting and sweeping in scope, this is a first novel as much concerned with its characters as it is with their predicament, as much about humanity as it is about a rigidly masculine culture that shuns the singular and the unique. Told with great elegance and empathy, Annabel is the powerfully moving story of one person's struggle to discover the truth and the strength to change, to find tenderness in a severe and unforgiving land.

If you like Kathleen Winter you might also like to read books by Annie Proulx, Margaret Atwood and Louise Edrich.

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Annabel by Kathleen Winter

In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador in the far north-east of Canada, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people share the secret - the baby's parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to go through surgery and raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows up within the hyper-male hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self - a girl he thinks of as 'Annabel' - is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life. As Wayne approaches adulthood, and its emotional and physical demands, the woman inside him begins to cry out. The changes that follow are momentous not just for him, but for the three adults that have guarded his secret.

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Utterly original . . . A haunting story of family, identity, and the universal yearning to belong. -- O, The Oprah Magazine

[Winter's] lyrical voice and her crystalline landscape are enchanting. -- The New Yorker
Affecting . . . Winter possesses a rare blend of lyrical brilliance, descriptive power, and psychological and philosophical insight. Her way with fate and sadness recalls The World According to Garp, without the cute irony. A compelling, gracefully written novel about mixed gender that sheds insight as surely as it rejects sensationalism. This book announces the arrival of a major writer. -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A novel about secrets and silences . . . What Winter has achieved here is no less a miracle than the fact of Wayne's birth. Read it because it's a story told with sensitivity to language that compels to the last page, and read it because it asks the most existential of questions. Stripped of the trappings of gender, Winter asks, a

About the Author

Kathleen Winter

Kathleen Winter has written dramatic and documentary scripts for Sesame Street and CBC Television. Her first collection of short stories, boYs, was the winner of both the Winterset Award and the Metcalf-Rooke Award. A long-time resident of St. John's, Newfoundland, she now lives in Montreal.

Author Photo © Juliette Dandenault

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Book Info

Publication date

10th March 2011


Kathleen Winter

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Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage


480 pages


Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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