What The Word On The Street Is Reading

This week, Festival Director Nicola Dufficy is reading Sweet Jesus by Christine Pountney, being released by Emblem Editions in Sept. 2012. Make sure to catch Christine reading in the Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent at 1:30pm.
About the Book:

Connie Foster, a mother of three young children, learns that her husband’s attempt to maintain their lifestyle has led them to financial ruin. Her sister, Hannah Crowe, a writer, desperately wants to have a child but the man she loves is determined not to. Zeus Ortega, their much younger adopted brother, who left the family home when he was only fifteen, is living in Chicago with his boyfriend and working as a therapeutic clown in a children’s hospital. Prompted by a heartbreaking loss, he quits his job and decides to search for his birth parents in New Mexico. Together, the three siblings head south and, on the way, they visit a mega church in Wichita, Kansas, where their mother, Rose, once had a powerful faith experience, and where they are confronted by the politics of the evangelical right.

What unfolds is a captivating story about three people bound by family ties and caught between loyalty and desire, searching for wholeness and finding something more real in its place.

Q & A with Nicola:

1) What interested you about this book?

I love books that explore family relationships, so I was attracted to this story from the get go.  I’m about 100 pages into the novel, and so far I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the siblings through their own stories and close relationships, intermixed with a bit of family history.  I’m looking forward to the point in the book where the two sisters and their brother reconnect.  So far I’ve received a bit of information in regards to their interaction as kids – now I can’t wait to see how they relate to each other as adults.

2) Are you enjoying it?

In Sweet Jesus, Christine Pountney demonstrates a real talent for shaping authentic characters.  I always feel that when you read the work of a skilled writer, you can’t hear them writing — when reading Pountney, all the reader hears is the voices of the characters.  They are so well shaped and multidimensional that they could walk off the page of the book.  I’m only a short way through the novel and already I’m completely invested in the fate of these characters.

3) Would you recommend it?

I already am – to all of my The Word On The Street colleagues!  Those who enjoy reading Miriam Toews will also enjoy Christine Pountney.


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