Annabel, by Kathleen Winter (2010)

Genre: Adult Fiction
Interest Level: Adult
Annabel I read this while on holidays, on the recommendation of a friend. (Thanks Deb!) In 1968, a baby is born in a remote village in Labrador, with both male and female genitalia. A decision is made, and the ramifications are explored over the next 20 years. Winter explores this unusual topic with a keen understanding of what makes us frail humans. We make decisions firmly, and then agonize over them. We ignore signs and signals, yet wonder what people really mean when they say something. Winter explores her characters’ emotions (and our discomfort) like a tongue playing with a sore tooth, making even the painful moment as touching as the joyous ones. I would have liked to have seen her even delve more deeply into Wayne’s emotions – in my opinion, he could have been angrier at times. I would have been, I think. The book was shortlisted for several awards, including the Giller and the Governor-General, though hasn’t topped any competition yet. Like Donaghue’s Room, this one stays with you for a long time.
More reviews and discussion of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7984373-annabel

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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