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Reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm's darkly magical tales, The Perpetual Ending tells an enchanting story about devoted sisters and their world of opposites, doppelgangers and ghosts.
Jane and Eugenie Ingrams are mirror-image twins, two halves of a whole, each understanding her world through the other. But their parents are less perfectly matched. When the couple separates and their father urges the girls to return with him to their rural home, Eugenie agrees for the sake of her sister—an ultimately tragic concession.
Years later, Jane works as a writer in Vancouver creating rich, fabulist tales with her lover Simon, a gifted illustrator. Estranged from her parents and haunted by her secret family history, Jane finds solace in these stories of extraordinary characters—a girl who trades her laughter for a scalpful of cobwebs; a lonely child with unquenchable thirst; an orphan with the gift, or curse, of prophecy. Within the stories lie clues to Jane’s past, of which Simon knows nothing.
At once wondrous and psychologically compelling, The Perpetual Ending is an exploration of love and artistry that shows the world in all of its grotesqueness and beauty—and uncovers the surprising ways we can arrive at the heart of one story through the telling of others.
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“Den Hartog reveals a massive imagination in [the] stories-within-stories. Reminiscent of Barbara Gowdy's We So Seldom Look on Love and Sheila Heti's The Middle Stories, the fables are both playful and horrifying, [their] characters strong and wonderful.... And den Hartog is brutally truthful with child Jane's voice.... There are some stunning turns of phrase in this novel.... The Perpetual Ending goes further emotionally than Water Wings, and...achieves a bittersweet finale that will bring many readers to tears.... Worth reading.” -- The Globe and Mail
"A poignant, dreamlike account.... A story of quiet beauty.... Den Hartog spins her tale with a deft hand." -- Kirkus Reviews
"While The Perpetual Ending is very much about loss, it is also a commentary on the resiliency of hope. It is, in the end, a pleasingly uplifting tale. God knows, we could use more of those." -- The Toronto Star
"Beautifully written, this lyrical novel tells the story of lives never fully realized. The narrative is interspersed with magical tales that teach the reader much about truth, family, and love. Recommended for all fiction collections." -- Library Journal
"This is a slow, quiet, thoughtful, sometimes somnolent novel. But one whose ending (yes, you could call it perpetual) somehow gives meaning to the rest, sending you paging back to the beginning of the book.... Kristen den Hartog [has] established herself as a powerful and distinctive Canadian literary voice." -- The Ottawa Citizen
"A troubled Canadian family is the focus of this sensitive debut novel.... [The narrator] Jane’s memories accurately reflect the thoughts and fears of a confused and frightened child, and the plangent tone of sadness is sustained with grace." -- Publisher's Weekly
"Den Hartog’s story is as elegantly simple as it is complex.... An oddly forthright and sharply moving drama of a character bringing her own chaos into order.... Den Hartog shows a serious gift for depicting, with authority, both joy and trauma, clarity and strangeness." -- Denver Post
"Den Hartog is poet-laureate of the dispossessed." -- National Post
Praise for Water Wings:
"Glorious.... A heartening study of people who play the hand life has dealt them with surprising good humour and not a little cunning.... A novel of considerable delicacy." -- National Post
"Exuberant.... A lively, funny read -- sometimes tender, sometimes mordant, often both.... Den Hartog is the mistress of the insightful non sequitur, and she writes about childhood trauma in the same surreal way it actually presents itself in life.... Her writing style is as intricate, as gorgeous -- and as reluctant to settle -- as the butterflies that are her central metaphor." -- Calgary Herald
"Magical.... Den Hartog knows well the insularity of a small town surrounded by the menacing beauty of the natural world." -- The Globe and Mail
"Kristen den Hartog's dark, tender first novel reveals her as a sort of literary younger sister to Alice Munro, plumbing the landscape of small-town southern Ontario to turn up stories of sexual discontent and childhood secrets...dropping shocks into a plot as casually as pebbles from a dock." -- Quill & Quire
Kristen den Hartog's first novel, Water Wings, was published to critical acclaim in Canada in 2001. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary magazines, and she is currently at work on her third novel. She divides her time between Toronto and the Ottawa Valley.
"Kristen den Hartog’s dark, tender first novel reveals her as a sort of literary younger sister to Alice Munro, plumbing the landscape of small-town southern Ontario to turn up stories of sexual discontent and childhood secrets. den Hartog also has a Munroesque knack for dropping shocks into a plot as casually as pebbles from a dock. The enduring sense of den Hartog’s story, whose plot works like a shell game, is that mysteries revealed are definitely not mysteries solved."—Quill & Quire
"Glorious . . . a novel of considerable delicacy."—National Post
"Den Hartog is mistress of the insightful non-sequitur, and she writes about childhood trauma in the same surreal way it actually presents itself in life . . . she has succeeded beautifully"—The Calgary Herald
"The author ... proves adept at peeling away layers of her characters' lives to expose the common tragedy at their core."—The Hamilton Spectator
"Kristen den Hartog is a gifted writer who uses words to fashion haunting, heartbreakingly beautiful images for the reader to savor and reckon with. In The Perpetual Ending she deals with one of the deepest kinds of sibling bonds, that of twins. Through her lyrical prose, we are invited into a landscape charged with raw and passionate emotions. By the end of the novel I was left aching and yet uplifted, thankful that there are writers like Kristen den Hartog, who are capable of transporting us into the very heart of what life is all about."—Carol A. Ortlip, author of We Became Like a Hand: A Story of Five Sisters
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Book Description MacAdam/Cage, 2005. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1596921471