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From one of Canada’s most accomplished novelists, a bittersweet tale about mothers, daughters, friends and lovers in 1960s cottage country.
In the summer of 1963, the year of the release of Cleopatra, the most sensational movie ever made, the women of Kalyna Beach prepare for their annual end-of season party. Sonia Martyn and her four daughters are part of a group of first generation Ukrainian Canadians, newly minted middle-class families claiming their small part of the cottage-country dream. With their husbands away in the city all week, the women’s days are ruled by the predictable rhythms of children and chores, lightened by the “racy” books they trade amongst themselves and by their Friday afternoon gatherings for gin and gossip, heightened by their obsession with the deliciously scandalous love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Their tightly bound world is straining with its own dramas and secrets. Sonia, a former fashion model, mourns the death of her mother and fights with her difficult eldest daughter. Elusive Nadia, the wife of a millionaire, longs for a life she cannot have. Sharp-tongued, sophisticated Sasha plays a dangerous game in both challenging and shoring-up the traditional Ukrainian community and its defining values. And for adolescent Laura, her sisters and their friends, the rifts and fissures that appear in the once impregnable “world of the mothers” will unleash a startling series of betrayals and discoveries. For this is the summer when everything will change for the girls and women of Kalyna Beach, as innocence is exchanged for a new understanding of the possibilities open to them all.
In setting her characters against the backdrop of the turbulent sixties, Janice Kulyk Keefer creates a radiant portrait of women caught between countries, cultures and aspirations. Richly evocative, beautifully told, The Ladies’Lending Library will resonate with more than women and book club members; it’s a story for anyone who has longed for the sweet and heady days of bygone summers and the risky promises of change.
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JANICE KULYK KEEFER is widely admired for her novels, short story collections, poetry and non-fiction, including Thieves, Honey and Ashes, The Green Library (nominated for a Governor General's Award), The Paris-Napoli Express, Constellations, Under Eastern Eyes (also nominated for a Governor General's Award), Reading Mavis Gallant, Travelling Ladies and Res Harrow. She is a recipient of the Marian Engel Award, the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry, two prizes from the CBC Radio Literary Competition and several National Magazine Awards. Janice Kulyk Keefer lives in Toronto.From Publishers Weekly:
The Ukrainian-Canadian housewives of idyllic 1960s Kalyna Beach, Ontario, find that show business scandal has far-reaching power in this latest from Canadian novelist Keefer, her first published in the U.S. While their husbands work, former model Sonia Martyn and friends spend the summer of 1963 watching their children on the beach and reading racy books to discuss over Friday cocktails, while the kids test the limits of their mothers' supervisory skills and traditional Ukrainian values. Moms and daughters alike have become enchanted by the new film Cleopatra and the scandalous love affair between stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. When the beautiful, sad wife of a local millionaire embarks on her own misbegotten affair, the ladies of Kalyna Beach feel their familiar world shift, opening up novel possibilities for freedom and betrayal. Keefer neatly captures the security and claustrophobia of immigrant communities, but diffuses her story's power with too many points of view. Just as the ladies' books cannot match the drama in their lives, this story only begins to capture the personal cost of immigration and assimilation. (Jan.)
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2002. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 6391621
Book Description HarperCollins, 2002. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006391621