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When Gil Adamson published her first volume of poetry entitled Primitive, readers immediately recognized her special voice, with its partnering of the random and the surreal with a finely tuned technical brilliance. Adamson cites as her influences Michael Ondaatje, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, and Creole writer Mark Richard. Barbara Gowdy hailed the poems' `ferocious energy that burns through every line,' and Doug Fetherling cited the collection's `pyrotechnic excellence.' Reviews of Help Me, Jacques Cousteau have already garnered the same level of praise. Doug Fetherling says, `The linked stories in Gil Adamson's fascinating book proceed from the assumption that the dysfunctional family is the basic unit of society. When she writes of coming of age in suburbia, she does so with a poet's ear, a comic's delivery, and a pathologist's attention to unpleasant detail.'
It is through Hazel's observant but detached eyes that we watch the family's goings-on, her unflinching vision informed by the precocious perception that however bad things may be they are only likely to get worse. She watches with bemusement as they go through the rituals of a Christmas dinner that culminates in attending the funeral of a man not one of them knew, and of a wedding that ends with the bride storming out. She senses that her mismatched parents, narcoleptic and impractical North and prosaic Janey, are headed for a rupture but is content to let things unravel in their own ineluctable fashion. Hazel's younger brother Andrew shows signs of following in the family's unconventional footsteps with his addiction to TV, his bizarre questions (`If you had to kill your best friend or your parents, which would it be?'), and his strange inventions, like solar-powered curtains. Yet however odd and even slightly menacing the world inhabited by these fully-fleshed characters, there is an unnerving familiarity to their dilemmas and discordancies that makes the stories resonate with conviction.
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The offspring of a family that has been in Canada for eight generations, Gil Adamson was the first baby born in North York, Ontario in 1961, an accident of birth which might partly explain her wary and perceptive take on the hidden eccentricities of suburban life. On graduation in 1985, she joined Coach House Press as publicist and editorial assistant, and in 1987 became publishing assistant at CBC Radio Guide.From School Library Journal:
Grade 9 Up Hazel and her brother, Andrew, belong to a family of eccentrics. Their dad, North, is constantly rewiring the house and studying the weather. Their mother just up and leaves them one day. One uncle collects only white animals, while another is constantly changing girlfriends. The rest of the family shows up on a whim from time to time, and even the neighbors, whom Hazel enjoys spying on, are a little odd. As Hazel narrates her life beginning from a young age, following the birth of her brother, her adolescence, and her young adulthood, readers get to know the quirky characters who make up her world. With subtle humor and lyrical, at times almost poetic, writing (We hurry along the road in the snow, looking like an assortment of bonbons in frilly wrappings), Adamson weaves a story that will give readers comfort in knowing their families aren't the only ones with their fair share of kookiness. Gina Bowling, South Gibson County High School, Medina, TN
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Book Description Porcupine's Quill, 1995. Condition: Good. 1st. Ships from Reno, NV. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP91073496
Book Description Porcupine's Quill, 1995. Condition: Good. 1st. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP47792785
Book Description Porcupine's Quill, 1995. Condition: Very Good. 1st. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # GRP15100964
Book Description Porcupine's Quill, Incorporated. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name. The spine remains undamaged. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0889841616I4N00
Book Description Paperback. Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory # GOR008843568
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Book Description PORCUPINES QUILL INC, 1995. Trade Paperback. Condition: Good. TRADE PAPERBACK Legendary independent bookstore online since 1994. Reliable customer service and no-hassle return policy. Fiction and Poetry>Literature>A to Z. Book: USED, Good. Bookseller Inventory # 01978088984161100. Seller Inventory # 01978088984161100
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Book Description Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Porcupines Quill, 1995. Soft cover. Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. F/na. First Canadian Edition. First Printing. Pictorial wraps. Seller Inventory # 002387
Book Description Porcupine's Quill, Incorporated, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1995. Trade Paperback. Condition: Near Fine. First Edition, First Printing. The book is near fine with very slight edge wear. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 008402