"And if a writer has genuine star quality, a sharper, deeper radiance than most, then he or she ought to be identified and celebrated without delay.
Time may be of the essence. Margaret Macpherson, a relatively unknown Maritime-born Albertan, is such a writer, and Body Trade, her seventh book and second novel, is the proof. She writes with the psychological insight of Carol Shields, the gravitas of Margaret Atwood, the poetic reflexes of Earl Birney and the earthy eroticism of Leonard Cohen, but her voice remains uniquely her own."
Winnipeg Free Press
"I haven't read a lot of road trip books (only Volkswagen Blues and On The Road come immediately to mind), but I love the idea of them. Body Trade has additional appeal to me as the road trip sets out from Yellowknife. It eventually winds up in Belize, but through flashbacks and a side story based on a real news event of the early 70s, the north maintains a strong presence."
The Book Mine Set
Body Trade weaves together two stories of survival. The main narrative follows Rosie and Tanya, two young Canadian women who decide to leave the Northwest Territories and head south on an ill-conceived road trip through California, Mexico and Central America. The story takes a life-defining twist when their search for freedom and adventure beings them into contact with predators of the Central American sex trafficking trade. The girls' journey into unknown and dangerous territory is punctuated with scenes from a place crash in the far North, underlining the novel's themes of survival, betrayal, epiphany and hope. In a deeply personal narrative that explores power, sexual manipulation, cultural consumption and trust, Body Trade asks the ultimate question: To what terrifying places will we journey, and at what cost, in order to save our own lives?
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A yellowed newspaper clipping about a recently released prisoner who saves a drowning boy triggers a wrenching journey into memory for middle-aged Ruth Callis, forcing her to confront the events of her past and, ultimately, her own act of forgiveness.
Growing up in the far North, Ruth is attracted to the young missionaries working in her town and becomes increasingly involved in the activities of their evangelical fundamentalist church group. Much to the dismay of her long-suffering parents, she turns into an adolescent zealot.
When Ruth moves south to go to university, life becomes less simple, answers less obvious. She becomes involved with Ian, an older man who is unemployed, alcoholic, obsessive, and increasingly volatile. What at first seems exotic becomes more and more frightening. The devastating relationship forces Ruth to re-examine her own twisted ideologies.
A book of rare emotional honesty, Released reveals the selfishness of the so-called righteous, the intense cruelty of human beings, and their divine capability for real love.
Part of the Mystery, Aug 25 2007
By Myrna A. Strain (Cochrane Alberta, Can)
Margaret writes " We are all part of the great mystery". For me ,this novel draws us deep into the mysteries of the sacred places of the heart where we alone know who we are, where we've been, the place where extreme joy and massive hurt coexist to fuel our existence. Face to face with her inner place the main character finds both strength and weakness in who she is. She experiences what truth can do, the mysterious inner resource that resides in each of us for finding freedom through forgiveness.
A marvellous read for a first novel . It engages you from page 1 and you can't put it down.
Anyone of any age can relate to this story. We have all taken the wrong paths from time to time, we have all suffered inner turmoil from unforgiveness but have we all found the inner path to unleashing forgiveness from our spirit ?
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A small-town Bill Clinton look-alike agonizes over whether to accept a tempting offer from the CIA; an obese young woman finds love in a prairie cafe; a lonely child encounters a supernatural being; a teenage girl struggles with a sexual predator as she hitchhikes on the autobahn; a newly divorced man tries to return his adopted children; two brothers and a sister take their father's ashes back to the North, trying to make it over the ice road before break-up.
These are just a few of the stories from Margaret Macpherson's remarkable debut collection, Perilous Departures. Perilous though they may be, all of these stories represent a departure from the ordinary and all celebrate the chaotic splendour of life. Each story, in its individuality, illuminates the path that leads to home, but home isn't always what we expect, and paths in Macpherson's world are rarely straight and narrow.
With compelling exuberance, Margaret Macpherson entices her readers to leave behind their familiar comforts and join her on a unpredictable journey of hazardous navigations. In Perilous Departures, the risks are many, the rewards transformative.
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