Tuesday, December 6, 2011


 Last night, I met with The Bookshelf  Book Club to discuss Kathleen Winter's first novel, Annabel. We all enjoyed reading the book and agree that it should have won the Giller Prize last year.

Set in Labrador, Annabel is the story of a couple--Treadway and Jacinta-- who are not suited to each other and their child, Wayne, who is a a hermaphrodite. When Wayne was born, Jacinta  was tempted to do nothing and let child develop as both sexes, but she gave in to her husband's desire to raise a son. As Wayne matures, he shows more feminine tendencies and struggles with the female identity inside of him known as Annabel.

All of the characters in this book, including the minor ones outside the family, are well developed. Wayne is not the only character who struggles with identity issues. His best friend, Wally,struggles with her identity as a singer and Thomasina, his confidant, searches for her place in the world.

There are no easy answers or tidy solutions in this book. "Everyone is a snake shedding its skin," Thomasina tells Wayne. "We are different people through all our lives."

An excellent read, especially on cold, wintry days.

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